More than 2,000 Philly attorneys are suing Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other city officials over the city’s “death penalty” policies, arguing the policy amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
The lawsuits also claim the policy violates the state constitution and the Philadelphia Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Lawyers for the lawyers suing the city of Philadelphia and Mayor Jim Kensington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits filed in Philadelphia District Court.
Lawyer Joseph S. Storck, representing the Philadelphia Civil Liberties Union, said he’s working on the suits in Philadelphia and is ready to bring them to trial.
The lawsuits claim that the “death sentence” policy was implemented as a way to punish residents of Philadelphia’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
The lawsuit claims the policy is unconstitutional.
It also contends Kensington’s administration failed to protect the rights of convicted criminals.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports Kensington, a Republican, was sworn in as Mayor on March 5, 2018, less than a month after the death of his father, George Kensington.
Kensington was also the first African-Americans elected to the city council.
The Kensington administration has been criticized for using the death penalty as a “slap in the face” for people of color.
The suit claims that Kensington is violating the charter of rights and freedoms by denying parole to people who have been convicted of crimes.
The Kensington Administration has defended its policies as necessary for public safety.
Stonck said he was ready to sue, saying he’s “deeply concerned” about how the Kensington City Council is handling the situation.
Stern said the suit is the first of its kind filed in the city in recent years.