Moratorium on the Death Penalty in Pennsylvania, in Utah… Not So Much
Wolf halts death penalty in Pa.
By Joseph A. Slobodzian and Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer
Tom Wolf, the new governor of Pennsylvaina, announced yesterday that a moratorium is placed on executions in the state by executive order - until he receives a full report from a newly formed research task force.
Pennsylvania’s death penalty - used just three times since 1978 but as controversial as ever - was shelved by Gov. Wolf on Friday until after he gets the report of a task force studying the future of capital punishment.
Acting on concerns he first expressed during last year’s campaign, the new governor cited a wave of exonerations nationwide and questions about the effectiveness of executions.
“This decision is based on a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive,” Wolf said.
Death penalty opponents lauded the news, while supporters condemned it. For 186 inmates on the state’s death row, it means a reprieve. For one, the reprieve could not be more timely.
“His death penalty moratorium is, in reality, a political statement without public discourse or input. Or, apparently, without any consideration for those the victims left behind,” the GOP leaders said in a statement.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) agreed, calling the moratorium “ideologically driven.”
But State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) used the occasion to reintroduce his bill - for the fourth consecutive session - to abolish Pennsylvania’s death penalty.