Governor Tom Wolf's moratorium on the death penalty has provoked this reaction from Northampton County DA John Morganelli:
The news that Governor Wolf has issued a reprieve for a killer that even the Governor acknowledges is guilty of first degree, premeditated murder is very disappointing. More disappointing, however, is the fact that Governor refused to meet with the district attorneys association or even respond to a letter that was sent to him by PDAA [Pa. District Attorneys Association] that debunks the data he has relied on in coming to his position.
Governors are charged with the duty of enforcing the laws of the state, not with acting as a super legislature or a court in declaring them null and void. In 1994, I successfully sued then Governor Robert Casey to enforce Pennsylvania's Death Penalty. It is likely that there will soon be litigation again against Governor Wolf. Although a governor does have the power to issue individual reprieves for individual death row inmates for a temporary time and for a specific purpose, he does not have the power to use this right to usurp the power of the courts and legislature in determining whether Pennsylvania is or is not a death penalty state and in assuring that the process is fair.
According to The Patriot News, 186 inmates are on death row in Pennsylvania.