RESOURCES: New Series Examines Pennsylvania Death Penalty

The Patriot-News in Pennsylvania is running a series of articles examining the state’s death penalty in anticipation of a comprehensive report on the death penalty commissioned by the state legislature. Pennsylvania has not carried out an execution since 1999, and all three of its executions in the modern era were inmates who waived their appeals. Incoming Governor Tom Wolf has said he may hold off on allowing executions until the state addresses questions of fairness in the application of the death penalty. Incoming state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor recently raised concerns about defense funding, saying, “If we want the death penalty, the state must provide resources to provide competent defense counsel for indigent defendants. That’s the disconnect we have right now.” State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, who sponsored the resolution calling for a study of the death penalty, called the study “historic,” saying, “We shouldn’t run away from facts regardless of what our opinions are.” Sen. Daylin Leach intends to re-introduce a bill to repeal the death penalty this year.

The Patriot-News’ series includes commentary from people with a variety of experiences related to the death penalty, information on the state’s death row and past executions, and reporting on life on death row. Links to all the articles can be found here.

(J. Murphy, “Death penalty: Is it right for Pa., or is it time to abolish it?,” Patriot-News, January 5, 2015). See Studies and Arbitrariness.