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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 25, 2015 11:54 AM
From: Representative Mike Vereb
To: All House members
Subject: RESOLUTION - Justice Delayed is Justice Denied ~ Condemning PA Gov Tom Wolf's halt to all capital punishment executions
 
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf unilaterally implemented a halt to all capital punishment executions in the Commonwealth, thereby delaying justice for the victims of crime and ignoring the important role played by the other two co-equal branches of government – the General Assembly and the courts.

I will be introducing a House Resolution condemning the governor’s actions and calling upon him to faithfully enforce the laws of our Commonwealth.

There is a common legal maxim that says, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The governor’s unilateral decision will deny justice to many victims of horrifying crimes in Pennsylvania.

It is important to note less than 1 percent of murderers in Pennsylvania receive a death sentence. This shows just how rarely this grim punishment is handed down. Capital punishment is reserved for the most horrific and despicable criminals.

The governor is standing with these charged or convicted murderers instead of supporting the victims of these crimes.

At the same time, he is ignoring the important role played by the other two co-equal branches of state government. If the governor wanted to initiate a moratorium on the death penalty, he could have legally pursued two options. He could have approached the Legislature in an attempt to get a bill through the General Assembly and signed into law, or he could have filed a lawsuit in the courts to seek an injunction in death penalty cases.

The governor pursued neither of those legal options, choosing instead to simply ignore the will of the people – who are represented in the General Assembly – and ignore the justice system upheld through Pennsylvania’s courts.

The victims of these crimes deserve justice. What they are receiving is politics.

The victims of violent crimes should be able to rest assured that a sentence, properly imposed, will be faithfully carried out. The citizens of Pennsylvania deserve to know that their laws, properly enacted, will be faithfully executed by the governor.

The governor’s actions could deny justice in the cases of the following charged or convicted murderers:
Eric Frein, who is charged with the pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder of Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Bryon Dickson, and of seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass, and who terrorized two counties for weeks and was only captured after a massive manhunt;
• Gary Fellenbaum and Jillian Tait, who have been charged with brutally and repeatedly beating a 3-year-old boy, and then leaving him to die in a Chester County trailer park while they had sex and went out for pizza;
• Hubert Michael, who confessed to and was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 16-year-old girl simply because she was female;
• Mark Spotz, who went on a killing spree that wreaked devastation upon four victims, broke the hearts of their families, and shocked communities through a swathe of central Pennsylvania; and
• Stephen Rex Edminston, who kidnapped a two-year-old girl and proceeded to rape, scalp and murder her with such violence that her burned body exhibited a practical obliteration of her genital area.


I urge you to join me in sponsoring this resolution.



Introduced as HR143