It’s Time for Pennsylvania to Abolish the Death Penalty

Editorial Board, The Inquirer •

This week, District Attorney Larry Krasner argued in a brief to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the death penalty in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. Krasner’s office reviewed every death sentence imposed on a Philadelphian between 1978 and 2017 -- a total of 155 sentences -- and found that 72 percent of the sentences were overturned, most due to inadequate representation. The major point is that race, income, and intellectual disability determines who ends up on death row.

Krasner’s brief was in support of a petition urging the state Supreme Court to use its power to weigh in on the constitutionality of the death penalty. The petition is the result of a consolidation of two cases brought by two people on death row, Jermont Cox and Kevin Marinelli. Other organizations -- such as Juvenile Law Center and the ACLU of Pa. -- have also filed briefs in support of the petition. Attorney General Josh Shapiro argued against the petition in a brief stating that the future of the death penalty should be determined by the legislature, not the judiciary.