- 17th District
- Daylin’s Issues
Leach Reacts to Stay of Execution Ruling in Philadelphia Murder Case
On September 28, 2012
HARRISBURG, September 28, 2012 – State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today issued a statement reacting to a Common Pleas Court’s decision to stay the execution of a convicted Philadelphia man.
That man, Terrance Williams, was found guilty in a 1986 murder case and sentenced to death. Citing withheld evidence that had “undermined confidence in the fairness of Williams’ 1986 death sentence”, Judge M. Teresa Sarmina ruled to uphold the guilty verdict but suspend the death penalty sentence.
Leach, a member of a task force studying Pennsylvania’s capital punishment system, released the following statement regarding the ruling:
“I am aware that Judge Sarmina ruled to stay the execution in this particular case. A bipartisan capital punishment task force and advisory committee are currently studying the effectiveness and value of capital punishment in Pennsylvania. Now that the immediacy of a pending execution is not looming over the process, I would once again urge the governor to impose a temporary moratorium on all executions until the task force can complete its work and issue its findings.”
Earlier this month, Leach and other members of the task force sent a letter to Gov. Corbett requesting the aforementioned moratorium. The task force and advisory committee are required under Senate Resolution 6 to issue a report by December 2013.
In that letter, Leach stated:
“While we are aware of cases with pending execution warrants, we do not write specifically on behalf of or in reference to any individual currently sentenced to death in Pennsylvania. We are also not requesting an indefinite moratorium on the death penalty. However, we do believe that carrying out an execution before our work is completed over the next fifteen months would greatly undermine the legislative intent of Senate Resolution 6 – a comprehensive study of the effectiveness of capital punishment in Pennsylvania, as it pertains to cost, fairness, proportionality, impact, and many other factors.”
The task force is comprised of four appointed senators and the advisory committee includes 30 members who have expertise in the state’s criminal justice system. To complete the study, the task force and advisory committee will receive assistance from the Justice Center for Research at Penn State, the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness and the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission.
The study, currently in progress, will address issues that could impact the effectiveness of the capital punishment system including cost, bias and unfairness, proportionality of crime to sentence, impact on and services for family members, mental illness and mental retardation, fairness of juries, the quality of counsel provided to capital defendants, alternatives, public opinion and other concerns.