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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Cameron Kline
215-686-8711
cameron.kline@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILES PETITION IN PA SUPREME COURT AGAINST


PA GOVERNOR WOLFS UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEATH PENALTY REPRIEVE
Filing states Wolf took action without the legal authority of the PA Board of Pardons to halt the
execution of a convicted murderer
PHILADELPHIA (Feb.18, 2015) Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that
he has petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reject Governor Tom Wolfs recent death penalty
reprieve because it is an unconstitutional takeover of powers that belong to the legislature, the courts,
and the pardons board and because it sends a troubling message to the victims of crime and the
citizens of Pennsylvania.
Just weeks ago, Governor Wolf took an oath to faithfully execute his duties in accordance with the
constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said Williams. Our constitution does not allow the
governor to satisfy his own personal opinions by halting a capital murderers sentence that was
authorized by state statute, imposed by a unanimous Philadelphia jury, and upheld by state and federal
courts.
Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not grant the Governor unlimited at-will power to issue a
moratorium or pardon or commute any sentence of death or punishment.
Article IV, 9 (a) of the Pennsylvania constitution states that no pardon shall be granted, nor
sentence commuted, except on the recommendation in writing of a majority of the Board of Pardons,
and, in the case of a sentence of death or life imprisonment, on the unanimous recommendation in
writing of the Board of Pardons, after full hearing in open session, upon due public notice.
Reprieves, like the one issued by the Governor for convicted murderer Terrance Williams, are designed
to be limited in their duration and purpose. They exist to temporarily permit the examination of lastminute evidence or legal claims. But as the Governor himself acknowledged, there are no new claims in
the case of Terrance Williams.
Terrance Williams has exhausted all of his appeals, including those to the Pennsylvania and United
States Supreme Courts. He committed robberies and burglaries, broke into the home of an elderly
woman on Christmas Eve with a rifle and threatened to blow her f---ing head off, and brutally
bludgeoned to death two gay men so he could steal their belongings.
District Attorney Williams full filing with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is attached.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is the largest prosecutor's office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the
more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives and support staff. It is organized into
seven divisions: Executive/Administration, Trials, Pre-Trial, Investigations, Juvenile Law, and Special Operations. The District Attorney's Office
is responsible for prosecution of over 75,000 criminal cases annually. The main office of the Philadelphia District Attorney is located in Center
City Philadelphia at The Widener Building, Three South Penn Square. The Juvenile Court and Child Support Unit are located at 1501 Arch
Street, and the Private Criminal Complaint Unit is located at 1425 Arch Street. Additionally, the Charging Unit is staffed around the clock in
The Widener Building.

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