Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder. Even if he receives the death sentence, Gosnell almost certainly will never face execution. As Charles Johnson of the Patriot News reported in September, Pennsylvania has one of the longest green miles in the country. Out of the thirty-four states that have the death penalty, Pennsylvania ranks thirty-second in performing executions—-and this despite having the fourth largest number of death-row inmates.

One factor in Pennsylvania’s low conviction rate was Governor Robert Casey’s reluctance to sign execution warrants, leading to an effective eight-year respite for those facing execution. Another factor is the Third Circuit. As Ron Eisenberg, the head of appeals for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office told the  Patriot News “It’s absolutely true that more death penalty cases get reversed in Pennsylvania than in Texas, or Mississippi or Alabama . . . . But even most death penalty abolitionists wouldn’t say the courts are fairer in those states.”

In fact, since Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty in 1976, there have been as many suicides on death row as their have been  executions  (three each). All of the men (and they were all men) put to death willingly gave up their right to appeal. Gosnell, then, is almost certain to die of natural causes.

Articles by Matthew Schmitz

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