PHILADELPHIA – July 16, 2019 – Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks, Chester, Montgomery) joined Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, lawmakers, and advocates to address the unconstitutionality of the death penalty.
“The unconstitutionality of the death penalty should not only shock our conscience, it should call all of us to action,” Muth said. “We need to join together across political parties, faiths, and government offices to make real and lasting change in our criminal justice system.”
Muth, Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Reps. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) and Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) are leading a legislative effort to repeal the death penalty in the Commonwealth.
Known as the “Death Penalty Repeal Act”, the legislation would repeal the penalty that is proven to be unsuccessful as a crime deterrent, incredibly costly, and a flawed system of punishment.
Today’s event highlighted the disparities in death penalty sentences in Philadelphia.
After extensive research regarding the penalty over the last 40 years, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office found that death penalty sentences have been disproportionately handed down to people of color, low-income individuals, and those with lower IQs.
The research also found that 72 percent of death penalty sentences are overturned in Philadelphia. However, overturning the sentences takes an average of 17 years which not only keeps some individuals unjustly incarcerated, but also strains taxpayer dollars to keep them in prison.
“We have the research and facts that show the death penalty is often unfairly implemented to target people of color and poor people. That is not justice, it is inherent bias,” said Muth. “It is unconstitutional and unjust to allow this penalty to continue in Pennsylvania.”