On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on all executions in Pennsylvania, calling the death penalty “ineffective, unjust, and expensive.” The moratorium will remain in effect until the governor has received and reviewed the forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Commission on Capital Punishment.
“Today’s action comes after significant consideration and reflection,” said Governor Wolf. “If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is going to take the irrevocable step of executing a human being, its capital sentencing system should be infallible. Pennsylvania’s system is riddled with flaws, making it error prone, expensive, and anything but infallible.”
The governor went on to express concern about the high rate of error in the death penalty: “Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 150 people have been exonerated from death row nationwide, including six men in Pennsylvania.”
Terrance Williams, whose execution was scheduled for March 4, has been granted a reprieve. Governor Wolf joins the governors of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado in placing a hold on executions because of concerns about the death penalty system. In addition, 18 states have abolished the death penalty.