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USA (Pennsylvania): Death penalty: Frederic Jermyn

, Index number: AMR 51/119/1995

Frederic Jermyn, white, is scheduled to be executed in Pennsylvania on 12 September 1995. He was sentenced to death in 1986 for the murder of his mother. AI has received information that he was an abused child and is a veteran of the Vietnam war from which he was discharged for psychiatric reasons.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 51/119/95
EXTRA 100/95 Death Penalty 5 September 1995
USA (Pennsylvania) Frederic Jermyn
Frederic Jermyn, white, is scheduled to be executed in Pennsylvania on 12
September 1995. He was sentenced to death in 1986 for the murder of his mother.
According to information received by Amnesty International, Frederic Jermyn
was an abused child and is a veteran of the Vietnam war from which he was
discharged for psychiatric reasons. He apparently has a twenty-year history
of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, is delusional and has auditory
hallucinations. Frederic Jermyn is apparently unable to help his attorney or
sign any legal paper or participate in efforts to help him although he does
not profess the desire to be executed. He believes that his mother is still
alive and his execution warrant is not valid as he believes Acting Governor
Mark Singel is dead.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
On 2 May 1995, Pennsylvania carried out its first execution in 33 years. A
second prisoner, Leon Moser, was executed on 16 August 1995. Governor Tom Ridge,
who took office in January 1995 is an adamant supporter of the death penalty,
and during his campaign for office, pledged to review death penalty cases
and sign warrants quickly. Shortly after he took office, Governor Ridge signed
legislation which requires the governor of Pennsylvania to sign death warrants
within 90 days after the State Supreme Court upholds the death penalty. A
similar measure was vetoed by the previous governor, who signed 21 warrants
during his eight years in office. Governor Ridge has signed at least 19 warrants
since February.
In Pennsylvania, the state governor may only grant clemency on the
recommendation of the five-member State Board of Pardons; he may, however,
grant a reprieve. As of 30 April 1995, there were 186 prisoners under sentence
of death in Pennsylvania, the fourth largest death row in the USA.
The Board of Pardons comprises Pennsylvania's Attorney General and Lieutenant
Governor, a prison-warder, a doctor and an attorney. The involvement of the
Attorney General in Pennsylvania's clemency decision-making process has been
criticised on the grounds that the Attorney General, as the person in charge
of prosecuting cases on appeal, is not an objective party.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation
of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel or
degrading punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please make telephone calls/send telegrams/faxes/express
and airmail letters either in English or in your own language:
To the Board of Pardons:
- urging the Board to recommend to Governor Ridge that he grant clemency to
Frederic Jermyn;
To Governor Ridge and the Board of Pardons:
- expressing concern that Frederic Jermyn is scheduled to be executed in
Pennsylvania;
- expressing concern at reports of his serious mental health problems;
2
- expressing your unconditional opposition to the death penalty, while at the
same time expressing sympathy for the families and friends of the victims of
violent crime;
- referring to arguments against the death penalty (for example, its brutalizing
effect on all those involved in the process; the fact that it has never been
shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments; the feact that
it is arbitrary and often falls disproportionately on minority and
underprivileged groups);
To Governor Ridge:
- urging Governor Ridge to take all appropriate steps within his power to prevent
the execution of Frederic Jermyn.
APPEALS TO:
Pennsylvania Board of Pardons
1st Floor
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-2596
USA
Telephone: +1 717 787 2596
Telegrams: Board of Pardons, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Faxes: +1 717 772 3135
Salutation: Dear Board Members
The Honorable Tom Ridge
Governor of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
USA
Telephone: + 717 787 2500
Telegrams: Governor Ridge, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Faxes: +1 717 772 3155
Salutation: Dear Governor
COPIES TO:
The Letters Editor
Philadelphia Inquirer
400 N Broad Street
PO Box 8263
Philadelphia, PA 19101
USA
Faxes: +1 215 854 5671
The Letters Editor
The Post Gazette
34 Boulevard of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
USA
Faxes: +1 412 263 1263
and to diplomatic representatives of USA (Pennsylvania) accredited to your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

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