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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 27, 2019 09:54 AM
From: Representative Greg Rothman
To: All House members
Subject: Amending Pennsylvania's Sentencing Procedure for Murder in the First Degree
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to add an aggravating circumstance to Pennsylvania’s sentencing procedure for murder in the first degree.

Under Pennsylvania law, there are currently 18 aggravating circumstances that may be considered - and weighed against an unlimited number of mitigating circumstances concerning the character and the record of the defendant and the circumstances of his offense – when determining whether sentencing a murderer to the death penalty is appropriate.

These 18 aggravating circumstances include whether the offense was committed by means of torture; whether the victim is among the list of enumerated types of public servants who were killed in the performance of their duties; whether the victim was a child under 12 years of age; and, whether the victim was in her third trimester of pregnancy.

My legislation would add a 19th aggravating circumstance for instances when the killing is committed in a location that should otherwise be considered a “safe space.” Specifically, if the defendant committed the killing on the premises of an elementary or secondary school, college, place of worship, professional sports facility or government office, that circumstance could be presented to a jury for their determination of whether the death penalty is an appropriate punishment. This legislation would become effective in 60 days.

We are all familiar with the tragic events at the Masontown Borough Municipal Center, the Tree of Life Synagogue and the Amish School in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County. It is with places like these in mind that I drafted this legislation.

Please join me in this effort and consider co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1300