Friday, February 20, 2015

DA Seth Williams Sues Governor Tom Wolf Over Death Penalty Moratorium

Less than one week after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf decreed a death penalty moratorium in the state, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has fired back by filing an emergency petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, asking the jurists to declare Wolf’s action unconstitutional.

Wolf explained that he made his decision because the death penalty is “error prone, expensive and anything but infallible.” Shortly after issuing the moratorium, Wolf sent a fax to Williams (yes, people still apparently use their fax machines, even at the upper echelons of government) granting a reprieve of the execution of death row inmate Terrance Williams, who was scheduled to be executed on March 4th for a murder he committed in 1984 in Philadelphia — his second murder conviction.

Just weeks ago, Governor Wolf took an oath to faithfully execute his duties in accordance with the constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," the District Attorney said in a statement on Wednesday. "Our constitution does not allow the governor to satisfy his own personal opinions by halting a capital murderer's sentence that was authorized by state statute, imposed by a unanimous Philadelphia jury, and upheld by state and federal courts."


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