January 1, 2016
VENEZUELA Court bars four from taking office The Supreme Court on Wednesday barred four incoming lawmakers from taking office, putting at risk the opposition's newly won two-thirds legislative "super-majority. " Responding to a legal challenge filed by supporters of the ruling socialist party, the Supreme Court blocked the four lawmakers from taking their seats when the new National Assembly convenes Tuesday. The ruling affects three opposition lawmakers and one socialist deputy, all from the sparsely populated state of Amazonas.
December 30, 2015
ISSUE | DEATH PENALTY Reprieve warranted The Jewish Social Policy Action Network applauds the unanimous decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Gov. Wolf's grant of a reprieve to death-row inmate Terrance Williams ("Court backs Wolf in Phila. death penalty case," Dec. 22). The decision was in keeping with the position taken by JSPAN in a detailed statement of interest supporting a brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, in which we reviewed our long-standing opposition to capital punishment as it is imposed, based on a reading of many Jewish sources and our concern about its moral implications.
December 23, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf acted within his constitutional authority to temporarily halt the execution of a convicted murderer from Philadelphia, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. In a unanimous decision, the high court said Wolf had the power to delay the death sentence for Terrance Williams until a legislative task force issued its final report on the future of capital punishment in Pennsylvania. The ruling does not apply to Wolf's broader moratorium on the death penalty, but it was a victory for the governor in the broader and contentious battle over the future of executions in the commonwealth.
September 18, 2015 |
ON THE ALTAR of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Germantown sits an oil painting of Pope Francis holding a tiny prisoner in his hands. The artist - the inmate pictured in the painting - resides at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, the prison where the pope will stop during his visit to Philadelphia later this month. "We're here to build a fire," Magdaleno Rose Avila, executive director of the Philly-based group Witness to Innocence, told the Daily News yesterday as he waited for Mass to begin at St. Vincent de Paul.
September 17, 2015 |
Saying Gov. Wolf's moratorium was unconstitutional, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced Tuesday he would seek the death penalty in the case of a former Colwyn police officer accused of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend and wounding her daughter. "We believe the state Supreme Court will nullify his decision," Whelan said at a news conference Wednesday. Stephen Rozniakowski, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Valerie Morrow, who had a protection-from-abuse order against him for harassment.
September 12, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf calls his moratorium on Pennsylvania executions appropriate while he awaits a task force report about what he says is "a flawed system that has been proven to be . . . ineffective, unjust, and expensive. " District Attorney Seth Williams, county prosecutors, and legislative leaders counter that Wolf's position "usurps judicial review of criminal judgments, and is in direct violation of his duty to faithfully execute Pennsylvania law. " Resolving the debate is now up to the state Supreme Court, which on Thursday heard oral arguments on the constitutional challenge to Wolf's seven-month-old ban on the state's ultimate penalty, which was last used in 1999.
August 22, 2015 |
Convicted Valentine's Day killer Shaun Warrick was sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms without parole Thursday after a Philadelphia jury deadlocked on whether he should get the death penalty for killing his ex-girlfriend and her cousin. The Common Pleas Court jury of six women and six men deliberated on a death sentence for about three hours before telling Judge Glenn B. Bronson it could not decide. On Wednesday, the same jury found Warrick guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2011 shootings of his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Barnhill, 19, and her cousin Marcedes Ivery, 22. Under Pennsylvania law, a jury's inability to vote unanimously for death means a default sentence of life without parole.
August 21, 2015 |
In a verdict that could lead to a death sentence, a Philadelphia jury found Shaun Warrick guilty Wednesday of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2011 Valentine's Day shootings of his ex-girlfriend and her cousin. The Common Pleas Court jury of six women and six men is to return to court Thursday to begin hearing testimony in the penalty phase of the trial, in which they will decide whether Warrick, 32, should be executed by lethal injection or spend life in prison without parole.
July 31, 2015
ISSUE | MORATORIUM Death penalty hardly tough on crime Two positives arise from the death-penalty confrontation among Gov. Wolf, District Attorney Seth Williams, and Attorney General Kathleen Kane ("Wolf calls on court to uphold his moratorium on death penalty," July 22). It keeps capital punishment under the spotlight, and it also makes it clear that many Democrats differ little from Republicans in important areas. Williams, Kane, and other tough-on-crime officials of either party seem to have given no consideration to the words of George Bernard Shaw: "It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind.
July 23, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to ignore Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's challenge to his death-penalty moratorium, arguing that the justices had already decided to consider a similar petition brought by the Philadelphia district attorney. In a court filing that responds to Kane's petition, Wolf also repeated the claim he has made since February: That he has the right under the state constitution to temporarily stay executions as he awaits a Senate report on capital punishment.