BY MARC BOOKMAN
FOR THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
The landscape of capital punishment has changed a great deal in 45 years, but one thing remains the same: A death sentence is still as arbitrary as a bolt of lightning. And as if to prove this axiom yet again, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against Robert Lark for a murder committed almost 40 years ago.
... Larry Krasner, who handily won the Democratic primary for district attorney and is a favorite to win in November, campaigned on a promise not to seek the death penalty. His website says it all: The death penalty “has cost Pennsylvania taxpayers over $1 billion, yet no one on Pennsylvania’s death row has been put to death involuntarily since 1962. Meanwhile, six people on death row have been exonerated. Philadelphia is the only Northeastern city in which a death sentence is possible.” As Krasner likes to say, “We have to stop lighting money on fire.” Even Krasner’s opponent, Beth Grossman, says, “I wonder whether [the death penalty] is at this point even economically feasible.”
Which brings us to the question: Why is the Philadelphia district attorney seeking the death penalty against Robert Lark?