Today is International Death Penalty Abolition Day

“My personal belief is that the heyday of the death penalty is over,” said veteran Downtown attorney Caroline Roberto, former president of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.”

A February 27th Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article posits that while prosecuters still seek the death penalty at the same rate as years previous, the “growing number of prisoners freed by DNA testing and shifting social attitudes about the death penalty have caused juries to lose their taste for capital punishment.”

Can it be that public opinion is shifting, finally questioning this system that is fundamentally flawed? The Central Pennsylvania Abolitionist shares the numbers:

“In 1994, Pennsylvania juries dispensed 21 death sentences. In 2003, six defendants in the Commonwealth got death, and in 2004, just four. Of course, there is one major problem. Pennsylvania has 225 people on death row, as of February 1. That’s the fourth largest death row in the country.”

So, on International Death Penalty Abolition Day, remember that we still have far to go on this one. We’ve been keeping you posted on the death penalty and mental retardation bills. Let’s keep the pressure on.