Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A first: AP reporter refers to PA death penalty as "de facto moratorium"

This goes in the "say a lie enough times and it eventually becomes truth" file. In an article about a Pennsylvania man who has won a new trial, AP reporter Mary Claire Dale stated:
Federal and state court challenges to the death penalty created a de facto moratorium during the intervening years.

This is the line trotted out on a regular by the supporters of killing. They claim we don't need a moratorium in PA because we already have one. Obviously, they found a reporter who has fallen for that line.

But the fact is that we do not have a moratorium in Pennsylvania. True, we have not had an execution since 1999. However, we nearly had two in 2004 (Hubert Michael and George Banks), the governor continues to sign death warrants, and prosecutors continue to try to make executions happen.

Plus, this so-called moratorium is missing one key element: A comprehensive analysis of the death penalty in Pennsylvania. Granted, as an abolitionist, I don't mind that we haven't had an execution in seven years, but a moratorium without a study of capital punishment only delays the inevitable reboot of the killing machine in PA.

The good news from the article is that we have yet another example of one of the major problems with the death penalty- ineffective assistance of counsel.


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