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Pennsylvania’s Death Penalty: Uslesss

By Wyatt Earp | August 30, 2010

More tales of the obvious. You have a better chance of seeing me win the Pulitzer than seeing the death penalty carried out in Pennsylvania.

HARRISBURG – Last week, Gov. Rendell signed three more death warrants – for an Allegheny County man who killed his wife and teenage son nearly a decade ago, the killer of a Reading police officer, and Jerry Chambers, who is on death row for the slaying of a 3-year-old Philadelphia girl who was beaten and left to die, trapped between a bed and a radiator. Don’t expect them to be executed anytime soon.

Rendell, a death-penalty supporter, has signed 113 execution warrants during his two terms, but it appears likely he will leave office in a little more than four months without seeing any of them carried out.

Since Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty in the 1970s, only three men have been put to death; all had given up their appeals. The state’s last contested execution occurred in 1962, even though the state currently has about 215 men and five women awaiting execution, including 50 who were sentenced in the 1980s. Despite the lack of executions and the continual flow of inmates sentenced to death by county courts, the number of inmates awaiting capital punishment is gradually declining, though the state’s death row remains the nation’s fourth-largest.

There are two things worth noting in this article. First, the writer proclaims Ed Rendell “a death penalty supporter.” That is criminally misleading. Rendell considers himself tough on crime, but the reality is that he signed those death warrants knowing full well that they would never be carried out. I’ve lived under this man’s reign for eighteen years and I can tell you from experience that he is no friend of the police and no fan of the death penalty. Ed Rendell is a fan of Ed Rendell, and he is all about maintaining his good public image. Signing death warrants accomplishes that mission.

Second, the death penalty is not a deterrent if it is never carried out. Rendell is correct there. In Pennsylvania, you can kill as many people as you want, content in the knowledge that you will live a long life at the expense of the state. Start putting needles into people’s arms and see how that changes criminal’s minds. Until then, you might as well put the lethal injection equipment up for sale on eBay.

Topics: Philly, The Job | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Pennsylvania’s Death Penalty: Uslesss”

  1. Robbie Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Oh screw that. Let the victim’s family members have a go at the piece of shit and then we don’t need things like lethal injections and such. The death penalty now a days is a fricking joke. They took 17 years in TEXAS, believe or not, to put to death a ruthless rapist and killer who took the lives of two young girls ! IN TEXAS ! It’s just a joke. Now that I’m all worked up about it – I think I’ll go away and sulk somewhere.

  2. John D Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    What Robbie said.

  3. Ferrell Gummitt Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Robbie: I mean this as a compliment. Given the choice of either fighting you or a wolverine – I would take the wolverine in a second.

    Second, Ex-IL Gov George “I didn’t expect to be found guilty on all of the charges” Ryan effectively threw out the death penalty on his last day in office by reversing all death penalty sentences to Life in prison. This includes a man who murdered an unborn baby by hacking him out of his mother and then raped and killed the mother.

    If the state is not going to give out the needle then let the families of the victims do the job with the weapon or weapons of choice.

    My choice would be a 30 ought 6.

  4. Robert B. Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I like the line the sheriff said in “Silverado” : “Now we’re going to give you a fair trail, followed by a first class hanging…”

    Yes, even in Texas, there is a much too long delay in seeing justice done. There should be a time limit between conviction and an appeal, and a STRICT limit on the number of appeals granted a murderer. And a reinstatement of the death penalty for forcible rape of a minor.

  5. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Robbie – Where’s the Cupcake Lady when you need her?

    John D – She is wise, I’ll give her that.

    Ferrell – Robbie is one of those women you never want to make angry. Sally Anne is another one. You just don’t piss off Philly girls of former M.P.s.

    Robert B. – The sad part is that the entire system stops nationwide because the libs are afraid of making a mistake on one case. Because of that hand-wringing, the obviously guilty (Mumia abu-Jamal) get to enjoy free room and board for 30 years.

  6. AJ Lynch Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    This is like a stimulus bill for appeals lawyers. That is probably why Fat Eddie signed the warrants. It gives more & more work to his many friends who are lawyers.

  7. Robbie Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Seriously Wyatt – I really do need a velvet cupcaker right about now :( Ferrell: Wise choice my friend, wise choice.

  8. Bob G. Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    And to think that Rendell USED to be a pretty decent D.A. (during the Rizzo years)…

    We euthanize animals for a LOT less, and at the blink of an eye.
    The “so-called” DEATH penalty (today) means nothing.
    It’s a relativelty sedate injection then off to the big dirt nap…
    Cripes, death by OLD AGE doesn’t even begin to cut the muster.
    I say we bring back some REAL capital punishment…for the most heinous crimes…as an EXAMPLE to everyone that “this WILL happen to YOU if you screw up like THIS asshat”.

    I’d go so far as to wager that “if” they returned to more of the ORIGINAL forms of carrying out the death penalty and then placed them on say…the “DEATH” channnel on cable (or even pay-per-view…so they could build and upgrade the prison system) it WOULD be a hit.

    Then again, I DID see the movie THE RUNNING MAN.

    Bring on the gladitorial combat…we’re about as CLOSE to ROME as we’ve ever been…might as well jump THIS shark, too!

    I’m just sayin’…

  9. C/A Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    He also hates firemen. The death penalty is a deterrent… IN TEXAS!

  10. bob (either orr) Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    What we need to do in Pa. is vote for judges who will uphold the valid death sentences in an expedited fashion. Then let that great judicial body, the U.S. Supreme Corpse, follow that example.

  11. Rick Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    As a person that worked with this scumbags daily for ten years.I say the death penalty should be carried out very swiftly.But no there are too many bleeding hearts.

  12. Mario Mirarchi Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Rendell = scum

  13. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    AJ – I don’t doubt that for a minute.

    Robbie – Velvet cupcaker. Is that a euphamism? Heh.

    Bob G. – I’d pay extra to see that.

    Captain – Yep, he hates firemen and policemen. Union goons? Loves them!

    Bob – Then whatever you do, don’t vote for Seamus McCaffery. Never seen a bigger hypocrite in your life.

    Rick – It’ll never go back to the old way, where Old Sparky was in constant use.

    Mario – Rendell is a scum cricket.

  14. Kim Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I am opposed to the death penalty. Not the concept of it, but the way it is handled as it has been described here. How many decades are these people waiting? (Some of them even begging, but special interest groups keep the appeals process going.)

    I am opposed to the circus of it and the fact that it costs more financially to keep someone on death row that it does to keep them in prison LWOP.

  15. Morgan Says:
    August 31st, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I hear about Ed Rendell and the death penalty, I think of three words: Mumia Abu Jamal. When is that son of a bitch going to get executed so that justice will finally be served?

  16. Robert B. Says:
    August 31st, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Kim – If there was such a thing as life without parole, and at really HARD labor, AND without endless appeals, then maybe I’d be inclined to oppose the death penalty also. But there will always be lawyers that abuse the system with one baseless appeal after another.

    If we really want to deter murder, then make it clear to those inclined to violence that society will not tolerate someone taking another’s life (without just cause, i.e. self-defense). After a conviction at a fair trial, one appeal to a higher court dealing solely with capital cases, then have the sentence carried out. If someone wants to stop the executions, all they have to do is stop the murderer before he commits the crime.

  17. Robert B. Says:
    August 31st, 2010 at 8:16 am

    One last thought on the death penalty:

    “If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call.”

    John McAdams – Marquette University/Department of Political Science, on deterrence