Death penalty in the US: Pennsylvania governor puts moratorium on executions

State prosecutors say the governor does not have the authority to call off executions

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The Independent US

All executions in Pennsylvania are off as of Friday morning, when Gov. Tom Wolf placed a moratorium on capital punishment in the state, pending a study on the issue.

The moratorium will delay the execution of death row inmate Terrance Williams, who was scheduled to be put to death on 4 March, and muddle the future of the Pennsylvania’s 186 death row inmates.

State prosecutors object to the moratorium, saying the governor does not have the authority to impose it, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors say they may take legal action to challenge the moratorium.

“I take this action only after significant consideration and reflection,” Gov. Wolf wrote. “There is perhaps no more weighty a responsibility assigned to the governor than his or her role as the final check in the capital punishment process.”

Following the announcement of the execution moratorium, state Sen. Daylin Lynch said he has reintroduced a bill on Friday that would abolish the death penalty in Pennsylvania, which the governor called “a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings, as well as ineffective, unjust and expensive.”

Pennsylvania is among the 32 states that allow the death penalty, while 18 states and Washington DC have abolished it. In 2014, 35 people were executed in the US and 3,054 people remain on death rows across the country.


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