Delaware court says death penalty ruling is retroactive; killer of Georgetown police officer to be resentenced
By Randall Chase, Associated Press

Updated Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 3:33pm

Delaware's Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday regarding the constitutionality of the state's death penalty law
Delaware's Supreme Court says its ruling declaring the state's death penalty law unconstitutional is retroactive, meaning an inmate convicted of killing a police officer must be resentenced to life in prison.

Thursday's ruling suggests that 11 other former death-row inmates also will be spared.

In its ruling, the court said its August decision invalidating Delaware's death penalty law was a "watershed procedural ruling" that must be applied retroactively.

The decision came in an appeal by Derrick Powell, who was convicted of killing Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer in 2009.

In August, a majority of the justices said Delaware's death penalty law was unconstitutional because it allowed judges too much discretion in sentencing and did not require that a jury find unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant deserves execution.

To read the court's decision: click here

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