End Death By Incarceration: Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Pa
In 2020, Amistad Law Project, along with the Abolitionist Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights, sued the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole on behalf of several people serving life without parole. Our clients did not intend to kill anyone but during the course of a felony, someone was killed. Many of the people sentenced under this scheme were accomplices, such as lookouts or getaway drivers, who themselves did not take anyone's life or were people whose acts are attributed to a death, such as a heart attack, that happened during the course of a felony. Under the felony murder rule, they were sentenced to life without parole which we call death by incarceration. It is our assertion that sentencing people to die in prison under the felony murder rule is a cruel punishment under the PA constitution. We believe our clients should have the opportunity to go before the Parole Board and gain their freedom.
Our case was initially denied by Commonwealth Court and went on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Sadly it was denied in October 2022. However, we continue to fight for pathways home for people who were disproportionately sentenced to death by incarceration through the felony murder rule.