No act by the state could be more egregious than executing the innocent. Committing such an atrocity, under the authority of the law and in the name of the people, bloodies the hands of all.
Despite a moratorium on executions, Pennsylvania’s death-penalty statute has cost taxpayers nearly a billion dollars since 1976, or more than $250 million for each execution. Even more compelling, some of the state’s roughly 150 death-row inmates are, almost certainly, innocent. In a series of occasional editorials and columns this year, The Herald is urging Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to abolish this inhumane, racially unjust, and outdated law, and join 23 other states in ending capital punishment.
The last time I saw Darrell Siggers, he was slumped forward, cradling his head in his hands, inside the Wayne County Jail in downtown Detroit. His pain was palpable. It seemed to ooze from his eyes and mouth.
Pennsylvania’s death row holds nearly 120 prisoners at two State Correctional Institutions – Phoenix in Collegeville and Greene in Waynesburg.
In calling for an end to the federal death penalty, President Joe Biden spoke with bold clarity during last year’s presidential campaign. He also vowed to provide incentives for states to abolish their capital punishment laws.
More Crime of Punishment
Two days after a serial rapist murdered his 23-year-old daughter, a doctoral student in Philadelphia, Sylvester Schieber attended Saturday night mass with his wife, Vicki, at their home parish in Maryland.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s tenure — and, with it, his pause on executions — is waning, leaving Pennsylvania open to a revival of executions in 2023, similar to the one launched by the federal government in the twilight of Donald Trump’s presidency.
George Floyd’s death rocked the world. Millions of people watched Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded for his life.
Virginia’s abolition of the death penalty, effective July 1, marks a dramatic turn in the fight to abolish capital punishment in the United States.
Quietly and without fanfare, President Donald Trump is making a lethal exit, as his administration executes the most people during a presidential transition in more than 130 years. This unprecedented lame-duck killing spree mocks Trump’s campaign caricatures as a criminal justice reformer.