Pennsylvania Governor Halts Death Penalty

On Friday, February 13, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania declared a moratorium on the death penalty in his state, potentially halting the process for the 186 inmates living under a death sentence.

In a statement, Wolf said the state’s current death penalty is “a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust and expensive.”  Wolf also noted that a “moratorium is in no way an expression of sympathy for the guilty on death row, all of whom have been convicted of committing heinous crimes.”

Governor Wolf’s first action was to grant a reprieve to Terrance Williams who was scheduled for execution on March 4.  The last execution to take place in Pennsylvania was in 1999.

In the last few years the governors of Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have issued similar decrees, halting the death penalty in their states because of problems with the death penalty system. Shortly after Governor Wolf’s announcement, legislation to abolish the death penalty altogether was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. For more, read this article.

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