Bill to abolish Delaware death penalty clears Senate panel

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A bill to abolish Delaware's death penalty has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The bill was released by the Senate Judiciary Committee after an hour-long hearing Wednesday.

The legislation, which now goes to the full Senate, mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The legislation would remove execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without the possibility of parole as the only sentence.

The 15 inmates currently on Delaware's death row would still be subject to execution.

Attorney General Matt Denn says he is not opposed to capital punishment in appropriate cases, but that state law should be changed to require a unanimous jury recommendation before a judge can impose a death sentence.
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