Jack Markell

Delaware court says state death penalty law unconstitutional

Delaware's death penalty law is unconstitutional in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, the state's high court ruled Tuesday.

In a 148-page opinion, a majority of Delaware Supreme Court justices said the state law violates the U.S. Constitution because it allows a judge to sentence a person to death independently of a jury's recommendation.

The court said the law is unconstitutional because it allows a judge, independently of the jury, to find the existence of one or more aggravating circumstances weighing in favor of the death penalty, and because it does not require jurors to be unanimous in deciding whether any aggravating circumstances exist. The...