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Could Pennsylvania lawmakers repeal the death penalty?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2021 | Violent Crimes

There has been a moratorium on the death penalty here in Pennsylvania since Gov. Tom Wolf came into office in 2015. However, it can legally be used again if and when that moratorium is ended by his successor. 

With the next Pennsylvania gubernatorial race in November 2022 and Gov. Wolf’s second and final term coming to an end early the next year, two state lawmakers are hoping that the legislature will repeal the death penalty once and for all.

Advocates point to multiple reasons for ending the death penalty

Those who support repealing the death penalty note that in 2020 alone, three men on death row in Pennsylvania were freed from prison. They also point out that the death penalty isn’t an effective crime deterrent and requires a lengthy appeals process that is costly to the state.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Frank Ryan of Lebanon County (along with Rep. Chris Robb of Philadelphia County), notes that it’s partly a pro-life issue for him. However, he adds that the appeals process “just keeps opening the wounds for the victims.”

Rep. Ryan says he hopes that even his colleagues who disagree with him on the issue will be willing to have a hearing and begin a conversation that will lead to abolishing the death penalty in our state, as other states have done. He notes that the American public is showing less support for the death penalty than there’s been in forty years.

When facing serious criminal charges in Pennsylvania, it’s important to know what the potential penalties could be before you decide whether to go to trial or accept a plea deal. You don’t want to try to handle your defense without experienced legal guidance.