Sunday, January 29, 2006

Matthew Mangino: Hopelessly out of touch

Ex-Lawrence County District Attorney Matthew Mangino took death penalty opponents to task in an op-ed in today's Patriot News.
Death penalty opponents have gone to great lengths to attack the death penalty from every direction, but straight on. Why? A majority of Americans do support capital punishment.

As usual, Mangino fails to note one other important polling number. Every year since 2000, polling data has shown the nation split 50-50 on the death penalty when life without parole is available, as it is in Pennsylvania and every other death penalty state except New Mexico.

Mangino also overblows the impact of the positive DNA test of Roger Coleman.
Coleman's case could not have turned out worse for the anti-death penalty movement. Not only did Coleman not provide the "death nail" that the movement hoped for, he provided death penalty supporters with a "poster-child" for execution.

The positive DNA test proved that we executed yet another guilty murderer. That's not news.

Then there's this misinformation.
Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty group, suggested to USA Today that finding the execution of an innocent man would put a final nail through the pro-death penalty movement. Dieter's claim puts death penalty opponents in the unenviable position of actually hoping for what they are trying to prevent, the execution of an innocent person.

We are not hoping for the execution of an innocent person. We know that innocent people have already been executed. All we're looking for is definitive proof (see: Executed on a Technicality by David R. Dow).

Mangino should crawl back into whatever cave he came from. He's obviously missed the news. Executions are down. Death sentences are down. Death row is shrinking. The death penalty is whithering on the vine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

No one asked me but... are some early thoughts on possible members of the Innocence Commission of Pennsylvania, if it passes.

Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., district attorney, Allegheny County: By most accounts, Mr. Zappala is a reasonable DA.

Ernie Preate, former PA Attorney General: Preate once defended PA's death penalty before the U.S. Supreme Court. After his own prison stint, he has become a strong voice for reform.

Robert Dunham, federal habeas attorney, Federal Defenders Association of Philadelphia: Or Michael Wiseman. Or Vic Abreu. Or anyone from the Federal Defenders, for that matter.

Bill Moushey, journalist, Pittsburgh Post Gazette; director, Innocence Institute of Western Pennsylvania: Moushey has played a key role in bringing forth numerous innocence cases, including Tom Doswell. Ernest Simmons of Cambria County could very well be exonerated due, in part, to the efforts of the Innocence Institute.

Pete Shellem, reporter, Patriot News: Shellem has done multiple investigative reports on wrongful convictions. His most recent report involved the case of David Gladden. Shellem's work freed Barry Laughman from prison at a time when Laughman was receiving no relief from the courts.

Leslie Seymour, Philadelphia Police Department (ret.): In retirement, Seymour has stayed involved in criminal justice issues.

Dr. James Ruiz, criminal justice professor, Penn State Harrisburg; New Orleans Police Department (ret.): Dr. Ruiz would provide both an academic perspective and a police perspective. One of his areas of research is police deviant behavior.

Sensei Anthony Stultz, Blue Mountain Lotus Society: Sensei Stultz is my Zen teacher, but that's not why he's on this list. Stultz has been a counselor for both crime victims and convicted criminals. He ran a halfway house in Johnstown for five years. And he was involved in coalition building on criminal justice issues in Boston while he was a graduate student at Harvard.

Reverend Walter Everett, United Methodist Church (ret.): Rev. Everett's 24-year-old son Scott was murdered in 1987. Everett is a member of the board of directors of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights.

Ray Krone, exonerated, York County: Ray spent ten years in an Arizona prison, including more than two on death row, for a murder he did not commit. Since his release in 2002, he has been a strong advocate for reform.

Thomas Doswell, exonerated, Allegheny County: Doswell spent 19 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. DNA evidence cleared him last year.

More thoughts on the IC

Let's stay cautiously optimistic on Greenleaf's innocence commission. And we must remain vigilant. This is much better than what is happening right now, which is nothing. Here's how I would change it, if I were dictator.

Remove corrections officers and victims assistants from the "must" list. They are not directly involved in the conviction of an innocent person. If the "must" list is restricted to just those who are directly involved, i.e. police, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, then there is more credibility to the list. It's also hard to justify victims advocates on the "must" list but criminal justice organizations on the "may include" list.

Or include representatives of academia and crminal justice groups on the "must" list. This would add greater balance.

This story is splashed across the front of the Patriot News today, which brings to another issue on which we must be vigilant. There could be too much emphasis on DNA exonerations. Each innocent man cited in the Patriot story was exonerated by DNA. Professor Rago referred to our 8 DNA exonerations.

Cases in which the perpetrator leaves behind DNA are not the only cases in which there are wrongful convictions. In fact, if you think about it logically, which is asking a lot in Harrisburg, DNA exonerations indicate that there are certainly wrongful convictions in non-DNA cases. In murder cases, for example, the perpetrator leaves DNA just 15% of the time. If we are finding wrongful convictions amongst those 15%, certainly there are innocents among the other 85%.

This story will continue to unfold. We'll watch it.

UPDATE, 12:30PM: I forgot that I wanted to give props to Dauphin County DA Ed Marsico for publicly backing SB1069:
Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. said while law enforcement officers are constantly examining their procedures, he welcomed the proposal.

"Certainly a study that could help us better investigate crimes and learn from cases where mistakes were made seems like a good idea," Marsico said.

After the AP story in December on PA's death penalty when Marsico said this...
Some prosecutors disagree that their approach has changed, but Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico Jr. acknowledged that it's possible they are getting more selective about seeking the death penalty. He said better representation for defendants also may be a factor in driving the numbers downward.

"Defense attorneys are getting better training, and courts are assigning more seasoned defense attorneys in these cases," Marsico said.

...a friend of mine said to me that we must be making progress when DAs start to sound reasonable.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Greenleaf officially introduces bill to establish the Innocence Commission of Pennsylvania

Senator Greenleaf announced his legislation, Senate Bill 1069, that would establish the Innocence Commission of Pennsylvania. Joined by Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Senator Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia), exoneree Thomas Doswell of Pittsburgh, and Professor John Rago of the Duquesne University School of Law, Greenleaf said, "I can't imagine anyone being opposed to this. I can't imagine anyone would step up and suggest that we convict the innocent." (Don't put it past the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.)

The make-up of these kinds of projects can be pivotal because they can easily be rigged. Greenleaf said that the commission will include "police, judges, victim advocates, defense attorneys and prosecutors, as well as legal scholars and representatives of groups involved in criminal justice issues."

However, that's not exactly what the bill says. The legislation states that the commission "must include at least one member from the following constituencies: prosecution, defense, law enforcement, corrections, judiciary and victim assistance." (my italics) Take a look at that list. Speaking in general terms, four of those six groups will tend to lean pro-death penalty. It's great when we get prosecutors, police, corrections officers, and victims advocates who are also abolitionists. However, when they speak as a group, it's usually pro-death.

The judiciary member(s) could go either way on criminal justice reform. Even defense attorneys are uncertain but probably more reliable than the rest.

As for those who might give an objective view on reform, the bill says, "(T)he commission may include representatives of academia, private and public organizations involved in criminal justice issues and other criminal justice experts." (again, my italics) "May" means "not required."

If this passes, we will need to keep a vigilant eye on what the commission does. No whistling in the graveyard allowed.

The purpose, as reported here previously, is to examine "the causes of wrongful conviction and finding the best methods of reducing the chances that what happened to Thomas Doswell will not happen to any other person."

Now, I can tell you the reasons:
1. Underpaid, overworked, underfunded, sometimes unskilled defense attorneys for the poor
2. Prosecutorial misconduct
3. Police misconduct
4. The impact of race
See? That was easy. They can just forget the commission and give me the money that would have been spent.

The other participants provided some important insight. Professor Rago called it "a marvelous bill" and noted that PA has eight DNA exonerations. Only five other states have more. The Professor said, "Innocence reforms are good law enforcement," a nod to the point that when an innocent man is convicted, a guilty man goes free.

Senator Kitchen said, "This is the most important legislation that I'll see in my tenure in the Senate."

Ok, here's where I have to pull on the reins again. I appreciate this bill, and I appreciate the bipartisan enthusiasm behind it (5 Rs and 7 Ds are co-sponsoring). However, this better not be the most important legislation in Senator Kitchen's tenure, unless she's retiring soon. The most important legislation in her tenure should be the legislation that comes forth as a result of this commission. Studying issues is important, but this bill has to be passed in order to figure out what other bills have to be passed to fix the problem.

This is Step 1 of a multi-step process.

PAUADP on innocence commission

This press release is in from Pennsylvania Abolitionists, re: Senator Greenleaf's innocence commission:
Abolitionists applaud Senator Greenleaf for innocence commission
legislation, suggest that legislature also suspend executions during study

HARRISBURG- Pennsylvania Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) is expected to introduce legislation on Monday that will establish a commission to study why innocent people are convicted of crimes in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system, and activists reacted by applauding his efforts.

“Senator Greenleaf deserves credit for recognizing how serious this issue is,” said Andy Hoover, executive director of Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty. “When innocent people lose precious years in jail for crimes they did not commit, it is devastating and alters their lives forever.

“With the death penalty, a mistake is deadly.”

This final point leads PAUADP to call on Senator Greenleaf to take one further step.

“A study like this must be accompanied by a moratorium on executions,” Hoover added. “It’s improper to recognize that our criminal justice system has this major problem but allow the state to continue pursuing executions and setting execution dates.

“We appreciate the desire to study these important issues. However, studies should lead to action.”

In 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Criminal Justice System recommended a moratorium on executions due to the committee’s concerns with bias against minorities and the poor in capital cases. In 1998, a study by University of Iowa professors David Baldus and George Woodworth found that black defendants were considerably more likely to be sentenced to death in Philadelphia than white defendants.

Seven Pennsylvanians have been exonerated after spending time on the state’s death row, including five in the last five years. Most recently, Harold Wilson of Philadelphia was acquitted at retrial on November 15 after 16 years on death row.

Wilson initially had his death sentence vacated on appeal because his trial attorney did not present mitigating evidence for the jury to consider a life sentence. He was then awarded a new trial when it was discovered that Philadelphia prosecutors had been trained to remove minorities from juries, a practice outlawed by the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Batson v. Kentucky.

“Harold’s case highlights why innocent people are convicted,” Hoover said. “Too often, poor defendants are represented by inadequate attorneys. Prosecutorial misconduct and the impact of race are also major factors in wrongful capital convictions.

“We are certain that there are innocent people on death row in Pennsylvania today.”

Earlier this month, New Jersey imposed a moratorium on executions in order to study a variety of problems with capital punishment. It is the third state moratorium and the first imposed by a state legislature. Moratoria in Illinois and Maryland were both established by gubernatorial action.

Death penalty statutes in New York and Kansas were declared unconstitutional in 2004.

Hoover noted that Pennsylvania has considerably more problems with capital punishment than New Jersey, including the discovery of innocent people on death row.

“New Jersey has had zero exonerations since 1976 while our state has had seven,” Hoover said. “There are 10 people on death row in New Jersey and 224 in Pennsylvania. New Jersey last executed someone in 1963 while we carried out three executions in the 1990s.

“The New Jersey legislature and governor recognized the need for a moratorium. Our General Assembly and Governor Rendell need to recognize the same need here in our Commonwealth.”

For more information on the death penalty in Pennsylvania, visit

Sunday, January 22, 2006

No killing by the Green Mountain State

Some of us are working hard to end the death penalty in killing states. Unfortunately, abolitionists have to look over our shoulders to be sure that killing-free states don't institute the death penalty.

New England has been one area of the country where the death penalty has been almost completely on ice. Connecticut and New Hampshire are the only NE states that kill. The NH legislature passed a repeal bill a few years ago (vetoed by the gov) and is debating that issue again. Mass Gov Mitt Romney tried to pass a "fool-proof" (try "foolish") capital statute earlier this year and was thumped.

Now a state lawmaker in Vermont is planning to introduce a bill to reinstate state-sanctioned murder in that state. Michael Mello, a law professor at Vermont Law School, argues against reinstatement.
Vermont, of course, thinks it will be different from the other states that have tried to craft capital punishment systems that are fair and swift. Only the worst of the worst will be killed by the state; no innocents will be sent to death row or executed; real defense lawyers will be provided to people on trial for their lives. This is what the politicians will tell us. But California and Florida and Texas and Pennsylvania and the others all thought they would be different, too.

Once the legal machinery of death is fired up, it takes on an inertia and a momentum all its own. A narrow death penalty statute will be broadened over time, as more and more categories of crimes and classes of criminals become death-eligible and there will be calls for speedier and speedier executions.

I've always admired Vermont for its independent, maverick nature. It doesn't need the death penalty to stain its reputation.

Friday, January 20, 2006

New criminal justice study in PA?

We just got word today that Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) is going to introduce a bill that would create an "innocence commission" to study the underlying reasons why innocent people are convicted in PA. (We can already tell him the reasons, but feel free to carry forth.) Greenleaf is getting aggressive with a press conference Monday that will include Thomas Doswell of Allegheny County, who spent 19 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, and hearings already scheduled for January 30 in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Greenleaf chairs.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

NAACP's Gordon to push for moratorium

It's nice to hear strong words from NAACP president Bruce Gordon on the death penalty.
We are going to make our position and presence known in every state, every time a prisoner is set to be executed. We will call governors, we will lobby legislatures. I intend to mobilize the NAACP around this -- we feel strongly about it, and we're going to be stronger about keeping it front and center.

Washington Post: Civil rights leader presses a full agenda

Now, much like the US Conference of Catholic Bishop's Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, we'll have to wait and see if this trickles down to the state and local level.

DAs want to continue executing the mentally retarded

This action alert came in on Tuesday from Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Dear friends,

It has been more than three years since the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the execution of the mentally retarded in the Atkins v. Virginia decision. In that decision, the court left the details of how this horrendous act would be stopped to the states, and Pennsylvania's legislature has yet to act.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court chastised the General Assembly for failing to implement legislation on this issue, and our friends who work at the capitol expect the legislature to act when it returns to session next week.

While the PA Supreme Court defined mental retardation using definitions from two MR advocacy groups, there are two key questions remaining: Who determines retardation and when is that determination made. There are two bills in both chambers of the legislature that address these questions. Senate Bill 631 and House Bill 1410 mandate that the determination on MR is made before trial by the judge, and this legislation is supported by advocates for the mentally retarded, church groups, and civil libertarians. Senate Bill 334 and House Bill 698 require the MR determination be made by the jury after it has convicted the defendant, and these bills are supported by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.

Now is the time to meet with your legislators, call them, and/or write letters and ask them to vote for justice. It is time to end this horrid practice once and for all. Below are two lists. One is legislators from central Pennsylvania that we are focusing on, and the other list is judiciary committee members from the two chambers whose stance on the legislation is unknown.

For those of you outside of central PA and not represented by these judiciary committee members, it cannot hurt to contact your legislators.

The legislators need educated on this issue. At the beginning of the session when these four bills were introduced, some lawmakers signed on to co-sponsor both bills in their respective chamber, not realizing the difference between them.

Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty has a brochure available on its website, which is at this link. If you are not able to download or copy this brochure but would like to use it, contact us at We have copies available.

Thank you for all that you do to oppose the death penalty! Onwards to abolition!

South Central PA legislators
Rep. Steve Nickol (R-Adams)
Bruce Smith (R-Cumberland)
Jerry Nailor (R-Cumberland)
Ron Buxton (D-Harrisburg)
Steve Stetler (D-York)
Ron Miller (R-York)
Bev Mackereth (R-York)
Mark Keller (R-Perry)

Sen. John Gordner (R-Dauphin)
David "Chip" Brightbill (R-Lebanon)
Pat Vance (R-Cumberland)

Uncertain judiciary committee members
Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) chair
Robert Jubelirer (R-Altoona)
Michael O'Pake (D-Berks)
Jane Orie (R-Allegheny)
Michael Stack (D-Philadelphia)
J. Barry Stout (D-Washington)

Rep. Jerry Birmelin (R-Monroe)
Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks)
Craig Dally (R-Northampton)
John Evans (R-Erie)
Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny)
Michael Gerber (D-Montgomery)
Glen Grell (R-Cumberland)
Kate Harper (R-Montgomery)
Bev Mackereth (R-York)
Stephen Maitland (R-Adams)
Dennis O'Brien (R-Philadelphia) chair
Joseph Petrarca (D-Armstrong)
Don Walko (D-Allegheny)
Jewell Williams (D-Philadelphia)

You can find your legislators' contact info by visiting the website of the PA General Disassembly.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Jersey: Shut it down!

Newsday/AP: New Jersey lawmakers approve moratorium on capital punishment

Let's compare New Jersey's situation to Pennsylvania's
Death row population
NJ: 10
PA: 225

Death row exonerations since 1976
NJ: 0
PA: 7

Last execution
NJ: 1963
PA: 1999

If New Jersey can shut it down, so can we.

Mr. Krone goes to Concord

Ray Krone of York County, who spent more than two years on Arizona's death row and 10 total years in prison for a murder he did not commit, has been one of abolition's great advocates since his release in 2002. Articulate, passionate, and likable, Ray has a way with an audience. On Tuesday, he was in Concord, NH, advocating for a bill that would abolish New Hampshire's death penalty, which hasn't been used since 1939.

The NH legislature passed an abolition bill a few years back, which was vetoed by the then-Governor. The current governor is also threatening a veto.

DNA confirms Coleman's guilt

Washington Post: DNA tests confirm guilt of executed man

As I stated before, the focus is on possible wrongful executions more than ever. A Missouri case has been reopened in which Larry Griffin was executed in 1995. The case of Ruben Cantu and the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, both in Texas, both strongly suggest that the killing capital of the country may have killed the innocent.

The heat is on, and prosecutors know it. This house of cards is swaying.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"There is no proof.." blah, blah, blah

Death penalty supporters regularly state that there is "no proof" that an innocent person has been executed and the 122 exonerees are proof that the system "works". Well, I can safely say that in my five years in the anti-death penalty movement I cannot recall a year like 2005 in which there was so much mainstream media focus on possible wrongful executions.

Abolish the Death Penalty has a good post on this issue and considers it a look ahead to 2006.
The innocence argument: A tipping point in 2006?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mumia's case now "on the fast track"

I'm a month behind, but this message has come in from Robert Bryan, lead attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal:
Today (Dec 6) the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued the most important decision affecting my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, since the lower federal court ruling in December 2001. An order was issued this morning that the court will accept for review the following issues, all of which are of enormous constitutional significance and go to the very essence of Mumia's right to a fair trial due process of law, and equal protection of the law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

CLAIM 14: Whether appellant was denied his constitutional rights due to the prosecution's trial summation.

CLAIM 16: Whether the Commonwealth's use of peremptory challenges at trial violated appellant's constitutional rights under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

CLAIM 29: Whether appellant was denied due process during post-conviction proceedings as a result of alleged judicial bias.

CLAIM 16 concerns the prosecutorial use of racism in jury selection. The record establishes beyond question that racism is a major thread that has run through this case since Mumia's 1981 arrest, and continues to today.

CLAIM 14 relates to the guilt phase. It includes the prosecutor's argument that if convicted Mumia would have "appeal after appeal." That comment effectively lessened the burden of the jurors, and turned the concept of reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence on its head.

CLAIM 29 is about the bias and incredible racism of Judge Albert Sabo, the trial judge. Unfortunately, it is limited to his conduct at the 1995 evidentiary (PCRA) hearing, rather than his monstrous behavior at trial. This restriction is because all of the prior attorneys mistakenly did not attack Sabo's misconduct at trial, an unfortunate oversight and mistake.

The court has also issued a briefing schedule. The case is now on the fast track, as I have been predicting. The opening briefs are due to be filed by January 17, 2006.

Today we achieved a great victory in the campaign to win a new trial and the eventual freedom of Mumia.

Your support, and activism, are badly needed and appreciated.

With best wishes,
Robert R. Bryan

Innocents Assistance Fund: Help Harold Wilson

The Innocents Assistance Fund has undertaken a new project to help recently exonerated Harold Wilson. The message below came in from IAF:
For nearly two months now, Harold Wilson has tasted the freedom that has eluded him for 16 years. As you know, Harold was acquitted at retrial on November 15, and his case raised many of the problems associated with the death penalty in Pennsylvania- ineffective representation for the poor, prosecutorial misconduct, and the impact of race.

If you follow the stories of the exonerated, you know that life on the outside is often as hard for them as life on the inside. The exonerated struggle to gain life's basics while, at the same time, adjusting to a world that has passed them by while they were incarcerated.

With this in mind, and recognizing that we just recently raised funds for William Nieves' family, we appeal to you now to help Harold with some of life's basics. His needs are many, and the Innocents Assistance Fund feels that it can try to assist him with some of those needs.

We are asking you to help us with a clothing drive and a "driving drive" for Harold. First, he is in need of some basic clothing items. They are:
a winter coat- size 3X
work boots for construction- size 13 wide
"possibly" a suit- 46 Tall jacket, 46" waist, inseam? (he's 6' 1")

In addition, transportation is often a struggle for the exonerated. They don't have thousands of dollars or any credit to buy a car. Since he lives in Philadelphia, Harold has access to public transportation through SEPTA, so the Innocents Assistance Fund is holding a "driving drive" to sponsor monthly (or weekly) SEPTA passes for Harold. A weekly pass is $18.75 and a monthly pass is $70.

If you can help with the clothing drive or the driving drive, please send the items or checks to:
Innocents Assistance Fund
c/o Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty
315 Peffer Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

The Innocents Assistance Fund is a project of CPADP, an IRS-registered 501-c-3 organization, and all donations to the Fund are tax-deductible.

You can read, listen to, or view an interview with Harold at Democracy Now's website:

Finally, there is currently a bill before the state House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Michael McGeehan (D-Philadelphia), that would compensate the wrongly convicted. Contact your representative and senator today and ask them to do right by the exonerated. Find the contact info for your legislators at:

PA Supreme Court gets it right AND wrong on retarded

I just finished reading the PA Supreme Court's decision in Commonwealth v. Joseph Miller. The court both got it right and got it wrong in this decision. There are broad implications on the imposition of the death penalty on the mentally retarded, and there are implications in the case of Joey Miller of Steelton.

Let's start with the good news. Basically, the court put its boot in the ass of the state legislature, a feeling the legislature must be getting used to at this point. It's been 3.5 years since the Atkins v. Virginia decision which banned the execution of the mentally retarded. The SCOTUS left the dirty details to the states, and PA's General Disassembly has done little on the issue. In 2003, the Senate passed a bill that set standards that would truly end the execution of the mentally retarded, i.e. determination made pre-trial by the judge, by a vote of 48-1, but the House didn't act on it and instead passed a version preferred by the district attorneys.

The PASC said, "Enough, get it done," in this decision. We applaud them for that.

However, vacating the decision of the appeals court to vacate Miller's death sentence was absurd. At Miller's 1997 trial, not only did the defense experts testify that Miller is mentally retarded but so did the prosecution's experts. The Court basically said that because the experts were testifying that Miller is "fucntioning at the mentally retarded or borderline retarded range" that there is still doubt about whether or not he qualifies for relief under Atkins.

The topper in this circus comes, as usual, from the local DA, in this case Eddie Marsico (MarSickO, for our purposes). MarSickO said this to the AP:
Certainly we would never seek to execute anyone who we believed was mentally retarded in the sense that they had significant cognitive and adaptive impairments."

But let's take a ride in our Way Back Machine. In March, 2002, three months before the Atkins decision, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association testified against SB26, the bill that passed the Senate 48-1 a year later. And who sits on the Executive Committee of the PDAA? That's right, Eddie MarSickO.