Opponents of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s moratorium on capital punishment gathered yesterday at the Capitol to criticize a decision they say was reached without input from crime victims or law enforcement officers, says PennLive.com. They came together on the day that inmate Terrence Williams had been was scheduled to be executed, the first death sentence to be reprieved as a result of the moratorium. “Pennsylvania crime victims deserve justice. What they are receiving from the governor is politics,” said Rep. Mike Vereb. “He could approach the Legislature to try to get the law changed or he could have filed a lawsuit in court and seek an injunction in death penalty cases. The governor chose to pursue neither of those options.”
On Feb. 13, Wolf signed an executive order putting executions on hold until he reviews a Senate-ordered study due later this year. Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan said the governor’s decision should not be interpreted as “an expression of sympathy for the guilty on death row.” He said the governor “stands with all those who have suffered at the hands of those in our society who turn to violence.” Sheridan said Wolf looks forward to reading the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment. The state Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams challenging Wolf’s authority to impose the moratorium.