Washington, DC (February 13, 2015) – Earlier today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf suspended the death penalty in Pennsylvania. While it is reported that Pennsylvania has not executed any prisoners since 1999, the state does have approximately 186 people currently on death row. In a context in which certain states are discussing bringing back firing squads or the gassing of prisoners, even though some 150 people have been exonerated from death row across the country, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) praises Gov. Wolf for taking this important step while the Pennsylvania State Senate’s task force and advisory commission on capital punishment completes its work and makes its recommendations.
Philadelphia based NACDL President Theodore Simon said: “I applaud Governor Wolf for his recognition of the death penalty’s fundamental flaws and inherent injustice. This is another important step toward the eventual elimination of a barbaric practice that has no place in a modern criminal justice system. As a Philadelphia lawyer I am particularly proud to see the Governor leading the way on this issue."
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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.