HARRISBURG-- Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) has called on Gov. Tom Wolf to reconsider his decision to place a moratorium on capital punishment in Pennsylvania.
“I’m disappointed that Governor Wolf would declare a moratorium on the death penalty without political debate or considering the victims left behind,” Taylor said. “I am also concerned that he made his decision unilaterally, not in an open or transparent manner.”
Wolf granted a reprieve to Terrance Williams, and in the process declared a moratorium on the death penalty. In 1984, Williams lured Amos Norwood to a cemetery where Williams and an accomplice beat Norwood to death with a tire iron. He was schedule to die March 4.
“The governor rejected the decisions of jurors who weighed the facts and the law before unanimously imposing the death penalty,” Taylor said. “He also ignored decisions made by state and federal judges, the will of the Legislature, and turned his back on crime victims.”
A reprieve, used correctly, is a legal measure devised to prevent injustice and not a means to put an end to all death penalty convictions.
“Governor Wolf is simply using it to impose his personal views against the death penalty,” Taylor said.
The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association shared Taylor’s outrage.
In a statement, the organization argued that “public safety is served when the most cold-blooded, heinous killers are publicly convicted and sentenced to death. The death penalty is sought in rare instances, and only when the facts of a case meet the narrowest requirements by law. Rightly so, every case is examined exhaustively.
“No one, including the governor, has the authority to invalidate the jurors’ unanimous verdict and unanimous sentencing or the decades-long gauntlet each case must run through the appellate system,” concluded the association.
Representative John Taylor
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster