Pennsylvania Sticking With Death Penalty
Rash of court rulings back state on capital punishment
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2008 4:44 AM CST
Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck makes remarks during a rally in Philadelphia, Friday, April 13, 2007. Twenty people who have been exonerated after spending a combined 150 years on death row...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – There have been only three executions in Pennsylvania since 1978, but four year-end rulings from the state's Supreme Court indicate the state won't be going the way of neighboring New Jersey, which abolished the death penalty,  any time soon, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The state's deputy attorney general stresses that prosecutors are working hard to get executions carried out, but the courts are clogged with appeals.

The court upheld four death sentences in five days and ordered new hearings for two more of the state's 228 inmates on death row, the fourth-largest in the nation. Among those waiting for rulings this year is Mumia Abu-Jamal, sentenced to death in 1981 for shooting a police officer. The former Black Panther's case has attracted attention from around the world.