February 18, 2015
WHOA, Gov. Wolf, you are not going to gain favoritism with your new constituents by putting a hold on Pennsylvania's death penalty. There are horrible criminals on Pennsylvania's death row who should get what they deserve for killing innocent people: their own death. This is not the way to go. Eric Frein will definitely get the death penalty for killing the state trooper. So, you are not going to sign his death warrant? The family of the trooper wants Frein dead, and for you to keep him alive will not go well, especially if you want to be re-elected.
February 16, 2015 |
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.
October 7, 2014 |
Philadelphia police held a silent vigil Sunday in protest of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal's commencement speech at a small Vermont college. Abu-Jamal, a onetime death row inmate, is serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. He spoke by video to 20 students receiving bachelor degrees from Goddard College, from which he earned a degree in prison. "Think about the myriad of problems that beset this land and strive to make it better," Abu-Jamal said in the video.
September 14, 2014 |
GOV. CORBETT granted a temporary reprieve yesterday to Hubert Lester Michael Jr., a longtime Pennsylvania inmate who's expected to be executed for the 1993 rape and murder of a York County teen. Corbett said the reprieve was needed to give the state time to acquire the drugs that are used in a lethal injection. In July, the governor signed a death warrant for Michael - his fourth - calling for the convicted killer to be executed on Sept. 22. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a temporary stay of execution last month, so it could weigh a pending request from Michael's lawyers to have an appeal heard by the entire 3rd Circuit bench.
June 16, 2014 |
THE FATE of a federal death-row inmate, who strangled his cellmate in a central Pennsylvanian penitentiary 18 years ago and who has made national headlines, is now in the hands of a federal judge in Philadelphia. David Paul Hammer, an Oklahoma native who is housed on death row in the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., has been appearing via video link in a Philadelphia courtroom for a resentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky during the last two weeks. His death sentence was vacated by a different judge in 2005.
April 19, 2014
Though it's human to err, admitting it doesn't come as naturally to the species - much less hiring someone to ferret out our mistakes. But that's exactly what the best government agencies do, setting up inspectors general, internal affairs departments, and the like to review and reconsider their work. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams deserves credit for his newly announced plan to correct some of his office's mistakes, which can have the serious consequences of putting innocent people in jail and letting guilty people go unpunished.
April 1, 2014
Too few justices on Pennsylvania's top court appear willing to grapple with improving the way Philadelphia pays the court-appointed lawyers who guard against the ultimate injustice: the wrongful condemnation of a defendant to death row because he couldn't afford a decent lawyer. The state Supreme Court's ruling last week ended litigation aimed at crafting a reimbursement system to assure that even the poorest defendants get a fair trial. But the 4-3 split offered some hope that one day the progressive minority view will prevail.
February 27, 2014 |
Every play hopes to be timely. And many playwrights want to change the world. The Exonerated , now in a stirring production by Delaware Theatre Company, goes after both goals. Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's play tells fact-based stories of five men and one woman sentenced to death and later exonerated, many after serving lengthy sentences. In mostly direct address, we hear the words of Delbert Tibbs (David Alan Anderson), Kerry Max Cook (Tony Lawton), Robert Hayes (Akeem Davis)
January 3, 2014 |
DESTINY - that would have been her name - died inside Jennifer Pennington's womb after the woman was shot in the face near a stone bridge in Fairmount Park in 2005. Harold Murray IV, 36, of Philadelphia, was one of three men charged in the revenge-murder case that originated in Montgomery County. He received a death-penalty sentence for killing Pennington and her unborn child. Prosecutors, according to local news accounts after the verdict, said the "death-penalty verdict for the murder of the unborn child sends a strong message about the importance of human life in Montgomery County.