For The Record

When Delaware’s Supreme Court ruled in August that the state’s administration of the death penalty was unconstitutional, it repeatedly cited scholarship from two Richmond Law professors.

The case, Rauf v. Delaware, focused on the roles of judges and juries in imposing Delaware’s death penalty. The court held that juries, not judges, are constitutionally charged with finding whether aggravating circumstances outweigh mitigating ones and that juries must rule unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt to impose a death sentence. Under Delaware’s now-overturned scheme, a jury made only an advisory sentencing recommendation to a judge, who then made the final decision.

“The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death,” the Delaware court wrote, quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Hurst v. Florida.

The Delaware court relied on historical analysis by professor and former Richmond Law dean John Douglass and professor Corinna Lain as it traced the development of relevant law and legal precedent, citing their scholarship nearly 30 times and directly quoting from each of them repeatedly.