A Delaware Judge halted proceedings in a capital murder case on Tuesday after considering the implications of beginning the trial in the wake of the Ring v. Arizona ruling by the US Supreme Court:
"I think that this is the type of earth-shaking move in constitutional law that puts the trial court in an impossible position of going forward," Superior Court Judge Richard S. Gebelein said, according to a transcript of the conference in his office with attorneys involved in the trial.Jury selection was almost completed when the decision was made to stop. The Wilmington News Journal article alludes to the preparation of questions to be sent to the Delaware Supreme Court regarding the applicability of Ring to the capital case. That would be done pursuant to the Supreme Court's rules regarding the certification of questions of law to the Court.
Gebelein delayed the murder trial of Miles Brice, 19, of Newark, until the Delaware Supreme Court can review the state's law.
In other news from the Delaware courts, Supreme Court Justice Joseph T. Walsh has announced that he will retire next year, after 30 years on the State Supreme Court, Chancery Court, and Superior Court. His wisdom and experience on the bench will be missed.
Volunteer attorneys have been stepping up to help the State manage its civil and criminal caseloads. Delaware is the only state in the country which has a program in place allowing volunteer prosecutors for civil and criminal cases, and we have been having some retired and inactive attorneys coming forward, and making a difference.