Moratorium needed on death penalty in Pa.

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There is an awful possibility that Pennsylvania could be executing multiple people in the near future because several death row inmates are nearing the end of their appeals process. During 2012 two men came within days or even hours of execution. Only incredible work on the part of some legislators and lawyers was able to temporarily postpone those executions.

Except for the death of three men who refused to appeal against their capital sentences, these would be the first executions in Pennsylvania in nearly 50 years. They would take Pennsylvania in a contrary direction from most of the rest of the nation.

Executions and death penalty sentences are declining nationwide, not just because condemning someone to death costs the state far more than a life sentence, but because of the many findings of innocence of people on death row (sometimes after decades spent there), and moral discomfort with the facts of state-sanctioned executions.

The Legislature has commenced a study of every aspect of the death penalty in Pennsylvania, the findings of which are to be reported to the governor within two years. Surely a moratorium should be declared on executions during the period of this study.

HAZEL COPE
Mt. Lebanon


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