Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pennsylvania: Commutation of Sentence

Gov. Rendell has commuted the life sentence of George Gregory Orlowski who was convicted of a 1980 murder. The Philadelphia Inquirer notes such acts used to be "granted by the dozens," but "have all but ended" today. There are over 5,000 life-termers in Pennsylvania but only 3 commutations of sentence have been granted since 1994. On the other hand, an average of 12 life sentences per year were commuted from 1971 through 1994.

The Inquirer suggests "the clemency spigot all but closed in 1994" because of a pardoned killer named Reginald McFadden. Gov. Robert P. Casey paroled McFadden after the state pardons board had recommended the action. Later, McFadden murdered two others and kidnapped and raped a third. See more on clemency in Pennsylvania and the Orlowski case here.

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