Pa. DAs take aim at Wolf’s death penalty moratorium

    Pennsylvania’s prosecutors are warning Gov. Tom Wolf’s death penalty moratorium could affect plea bargains and how judges and juries view executions.

    The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association released a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday that said the Democratic governor has misinterpreted the term “reprieve,” arguing his moratorium violates the state constitution.

    The prosecutors say reprieves can only halt a criminal sentence for a defined period of time and for a reason that relates specifically to a particular convict.

    Wolf announced the moratorium in February, suspending plans to execute Terrance Williams for a 1984 robbery and fatal tire-iron beating of another man in Philadelphia.

    The governor argues the current system is error-prone and expensive. He plans to issue reprieves while a legislative committee prepares a report about the state’s use of capital punishment.

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