[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] on Tuesday voiced his support [remarks] for a moratorium on the death penalty pending a decision by the Supreme Court on the Oklahoma death penalty case. Speaking in a personal capacity before the National Press Club [official website] in Washington, DC, Holder stated his own views that the death penalty is wrong and until the Supreme court speaks on the matter that all pending death penalties should be halted. He noted that the criminal justice system can make mistakes, ranging from wrongful convictions to botched injections. He further said that the problems with our justice system have improved over the past year and that for the first time in 32 years there has been a drop in the number of incarcerated individuals.
Throughout the US, the death penalty remains a controversial issue with many states seeking to end the practice or institute reforms. Last Friday Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf [official website] declared a moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty, which will remain in effect until he receives and reviews a report from the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment. In January the Washington state legislature [official website] proposed bills to eliminate [JURIST report] the death penalty. Also in January the US Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine [JURIST report] whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Last month Indiana state senator Lonnie Randolph [official profile] introduced Senate Bill 136 to end the death penalty [JURIST report] in the state.