Activists host virtual forum on death penalty in Delaware

DELAWARE – While COVID-19 consumes our entire country, Delaware United, an advocacy group focused on the death penalty, is using this time to educate people on another deadly force: capital punishment.

Dustyn Thompson, a leader of Delaware United, says a virtual forum hosted on Wednesday night aimed to answer all questions about it.

“What are some of the racial justice issues, what are some of the moral issues, what are some of the alternatives to the death penalty?” Thompson said, as some of the topics that would be covered.

Thompson says the group is trying to spread education about the topic before lawmakers in Delaware come back to session and face legislation about the death penalty. But Geoff Klopp, President of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, says the legislation is fine as it is.

“The current legislation, I believe, is extremely appropriate in the state of Delaware, because currently there is no punishment for an inmate that commits a murder in a correctional facility,” Klopp said.

Klopp says if there are concerns about racial bias in the legislation, those worries are unfounded.

“Nowhere in the bill does it speak about anybody’s salary, or what color any person is that commits this crime, it has to do with the definition of the crime and the crime that is committed,” Klopp said.

And although Thompson says he understands the importance of this legislation, he is urging lawmakers to not rush it when they return to session.

“If they come back and they only have a month, this is not what they should be working on, they should be working on budget, economics, housing, healthcare, and other COVID stuff,” Thompson said.

When the Delaware legislature comes back, they’ll consider House Bill 165, that, in part, requires a jury find aggravating circumstances before sentencing a defendant to death.

Categories: Delaware, Local News