Pennsylvania law currently allows for the imposition of death as a penalty for first degree homicide cases. In order for that penalty to be imposed, the attorney for the Commonwealth must not only prove that a person is guilty of homicide beyond a reasonable doubt, but in a separate proceeding, must also prove the existence of at least one statutory aggravating factor is present.
Only in cases where the attorney for the Commonwealth satisfies his burden in both the guilt and penalty phase can the trial court impose the death penalty. In these cases, the person sentenced to death has an automatic right of appeal directly to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for the Court to review the sufficiency of the evidence. This means the Court viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, was every element proved beyond a reasonable doubt.