Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. High Court Hears Challenge to Execution Moratorium

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. High Court Hears Challenge to Execution Moratorium

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - The state Supreme Court today heard arguments in a challenge by the Philadelphia district attorney to Gov. Tom Wolf's declaration that he would impose an effective moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

In February, shortly after taking office, Mr. Wolf said that until the pending recommendations of a Senate advisory commission were received and addressed, he would grant a reprieve in each case in which an execution was scheduled. He cited questions about the "fundamental fairness" of capital sentencing in Pennsylvania.

The associations of Pennsylvania district attorneys and state troopers criticized the move, as did Republican legislative leaders.

The Philadelphia district attorney, Seth Williams, filed a challenge to the moratorium as applied to the case of Terrance Williams, who received the first reprieve under Mr. Wolf's policy. Terrance Williams was convicted of beating a man to death with a tire iron in 1984, the district attorney's office says in a court filing. …

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