Appeal process another hurdle for family

Attorneys for Derrick Powell, the man convicted of fatally shooting Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer in September 2009, have filed a motion in their client’s appeal to move that trial out of Sussex County. Powell was sentenced to death for his alleged role in the crime.

The appeal itself is not major news, as all death-penalty cases in Delaware are automatically appealed. The change of venue request is what adds to the case.

Powell’s attorneys argued in their motion that “inflammatory and sensationalized” media coverage, and public interest in the trial, caused the jury pool to be biased against Powell. They also argue that Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves did not instruct the jury that they could consider a second-degree murder charge against Powell, as opposed to the first-degree charge that he was ultimately convicted of in the trial.

In addition to those points of conflict, Powell’s lawyers are arguing that the investigation of Spicer’s death was poorly conducted, and that not all forensic testing was done that should have been conducted.

We are not arguing that Powell and his attorneys shouldn’t have the right to appeal. This is a death-sentence verdict, and we as a society should demand that the right person is convicted of this heainous act, and that the punishment indeed fits the crime.

That being said, as important as the appeals process is, particularly in a capital murder case, we can’t help but feel bad for Spicer’s family throughout this process. The nature of the crime itself is more than one family should have to deal with, and the original trial was filled with enough graphic testimony to fill their minds forever. It is indeed a shame that they can’t just move on to the healing process without these wounds being opened once again.

This entire process is no-win. Powell is literally fighting for his life in this situation, and we fully expect his attorneys to do everything in their power to save him from his court-ordered justice. But there also comes a time when many in the community would like to just try to regain normalcy in their lives as much as possible.

Our thoughts go out to the Spicer family as they are being forced once again to face this situation in the most public of arenas, and we ask all who are close to them to provide support and love during this very difficult time.