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Pennsylvania Next to Abolish Death Penalty?

Marshall Dayan,
Capital Punishment Project
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January 12, 2007

The Penn State poll results establishing that more Pennsylvanians prefer the alternative of incarceration to the death penalty for the worst homicides is an important addition to the growing body of data that Americans from all walks of life are rejecting the promises of politicians and prosecutors that the death penalty is a panacea for serious crimes. Like New Jersey’s Death Penalty Study Commission, Pennsylvanians are recognizing the serious and enduring problems in the administration of the death penalty, including wrongful convictions, prosecutorial misconduct, failures in the quality of counsel for those charged with or convicted of capital crimes, and racial, class and geographic bias in administration. This recognition has led more and more people, including surviving victims’ family members, to recognize that the death penalty is too expensive, too arbitrary, and too irrevocable for the criminal justice system to continue to employ it.

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