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Jules Epstein Jules Epstein

On Sept. 11, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument in two cases raising a challenge to the death penalty process in this commonwealth as so dysfunctional as to violate the Pennsylvania Constitution. In doing so, it will decide first whether to exercise its King’s Bench authority and hear the substantive claims; and if so whether the system is indeed so broken that it requires action by the court. Whatever it decides, it must confront the indisputable fact that in Pennsylvania race was and remains a thumb on the capital case scales—in the decision of who faces the death penalty; in the selection of jurors and in jurors’ ultimate decision of whether to vote for death.

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