Sen. Yaw Issues Statement on Death Penalty Moratorium

HARRISBURG – Responding to Governor Tom Wolf’s imposition of a temporary ban on the death penalty in Pennsylvania, state Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) said the Governor continues to take unilateral action without regard to its effect on law abiding Pennsylvanians.

“With the Governor’s moratorium on the death penalty, he has inflicted irreparable harm to the prosecution of the most serious offenses in the criminal justice system.  In one act, the Governor has slapped the faces of law enforcement officers who investigate murder cases, the prosecutors who bring these cases to trial, the jurors who sacrifice time and emotion in deciding the cases and the courts who hear the cases and review them on appeal.

In 2010, Lycoming County District Attorney prosecuted Maurice Patterson for the brutal murder of Eric Sawyer.   A jury of Lycoming County citizens found the defendant guilty and based on the evidence imposed the death penalty.   The governor’s action tells us that the action of police, prosecutors, the courts and, most importantly, jurors cannot be trusted.

Can we improve the system?   Absolutely.   Any of our systems can be improved.   That fact, however, does not justify taking important enforcement tools from those who protect us.”

Yaw serves as a member of the Senate Judiciary and Law and Justice Committees.


Rita Zielonis, 717-787-3280

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