HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers applauds yesterday's decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Williams which upheld Governor Wolf's temporary reprieve to a death row inmate as a "valid exercise of constitutional authority." The Court noted that the reprieve will remain in effect pending receipt of the forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment and until the concerns raised by the Task Force are satisfactorily addressed.
As Governor Wolf correctly stated when he issued the moratorium on the execution of the death penalty in February, "If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is going to take the irrevocable step of executing a human being, its capital sentencing system must be infallible. Pennsylvania's system is riddled with flaws, making it error prone, expensive, and anything but infallible." Every significant study of Pennsylvania's capital punishment system has concluded that it is severely flawed and cannot be effectively, fairly or morally administered.
We expect that the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment will similarly conclude that the death penalty as currently administered cannot comport with the principles of a fair and just society. Governor Wolf's moratorium ensures that while this important Task Force concludes its work and concerns raised therein are addressed, our Commonwealth will not make an irrevocable and tragic mistake by executing an innocent person. PACDL has long opposed the penalty of death as a criminal sanction and will continue to work with the Task Force and others to bring these flaws to light.
Philip Gelso, President
Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the only statewide organization dedicated to the support of Pennsylvania's criminal defense bar and to justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. It is composed of more than 850 private criminal defense attorneys and state and federal public defenders.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers