Everyday Injustice Podcast Episode 191: Death Penalty Representation in Philadelphia

In Everyday Injustice’s second installment with Marc Bookman, we discuss the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation—a non-profit set up in 2010 that was created due to lack of state funding in Pennsylvania for indigent defense.

“ACCR fills a void created by the lack of adequate funding for poor defendants and provides hope to those who have lost it,” the group’s mission explains.

Pennsylvania continues to be a state caught in limbo.

In February, newly-elected Governor Josh Shapiro announced a moratorium on executions: “The Commonwealth shouldn’t be in the business of putting people to death. Period.”

The Governor went further, speaking “to the fundamental question as to whether death is a just and appropriate punishment for the state to inflict on its citizens.” The system is fallible, he said, and the outcome is irreversible. Rejecting the idea that our capital punishment system is flawed but fixable, he called on the General Assembly to “work with me to abolish the death penalty once and for all here in Pennsylvania.”

This was a surprising move, as Bookman points out “our former Attorney General, Mr. Shapiro had hardly appeared the abolitionist. He himself admitted that he had ‘evolved’ on the issue, and evolve he certainly did…”

At the same time, the moratorium, only goes so far.  Bookman explained, “As long as there is a death row, there is a risk the next governor will end the moratorium, just as Trump ended the unannounced but very real moratorium by President Obama.”

Listen as Marc Bookman talks about the work of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and the nature of the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

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