NY Times Op-Ed: Pennsylvania’s Broken Machinery of Death

Published: September 13, 2012

Pennsylvania is scheduled to execute Terrance Williams on Oct. 3. The state has sentenced more than 400 people to death since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976 and has executed three who gave up on their appeals. But he would be the first person in 50 years to be put to death there while still fighting his sentence.

That should not happen. On Friday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Williams’s lawyers are scheduled to explain why a state trial judge should stay his execution and why the Philadelphia district attorney should agree that his sentence be commuted to life without parole. There is compelling evidence for both.