Submitted by Sarah on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 15:27.
In 2014, the United States saw its fewest executions in twenty years. Now, less than a quarter of the way into 2015, two new governors – Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Kate Brown of Oregon – have declared a halt to executions in their states. In other states, lingering questions over lethal injection are also keeping executions on hold.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf made his announcement in mid-February, shortly after he took office. In an eloquent, multi-page statement, he said he would not allow executions to go forward in Pennsylvania until the recommendations of a forthcoming study on Pennsylvania’s death penalty are fully addressed.
Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown stepped into the Governorship after the resignation of John Kitzhaber last month. As soon as she took office, she promised to continue the moratorium on executions that Kitzhaber imposed in late 2011. Brown said she believes there needs to be a broader discussion about the death penalty in the state, and she will not consider going forward with executions until that time.
Pennsylvania and Oregon join Colorado and Washington as states where governors have imposed moratoria. Elsewhere, the courts are stepping in.