Hundreds of you have sent emails to the PA Board of Pardons and the Governor about the death penalty in recent months. You can send another message here.
Here is an update on the pending capital cases:
1) Terrance Williams: On September 28, 2012, Common Pleas Court Judge Sarmina ordered a stay of execution and granted the defense request for a new sentencing hearing. The prosecution filed an emergency petition with the Pa. Supreme Court to vacate the stay. The Pa. Supreme Court denied the emergency petition and ordered a briefing schedule to be set. Currently, there are consolidated appeals filed by the prosecutors to vacate Judge Sarmina’s order which are pending before the Pa. Supreme Court. To date, the Supreme Court has not set a briefing schedule in the appeals. There is no pending execution warrant for Mr. Williams.
2) Hubert Michael: On November 7, 2012, Federal District Court Judge Jones denied Michael’s request to reopen his federal appeal and denied the motion for a stay of execution. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted Michael’s request for a stay of execution and remanded the case to Judge Jones to address a technical matter related to the appeal issues. By order dated November 19, 2012, Judge Jones addressed the appeal issues discrepancy and the case was returned to the Third Circuit. According to the Third Circuit, it will be issuing “an expedited briefing schedule” to address Michael’s appeal issues, but to date no such schedule has been published. There is no pending execution warrant for Mr. Michael.
3) Mark Spotz: Execution date – January 8, 2013. Spotz’ direct and State post-conviction collateral appeals have been exhausted. However, according to his attorneys, he has never been afforded any federal review of his conviction and death sentence. On November 14, 2012, Spotz’ attorneys filed a motion for a stay of execution in Federal District Court to allow time to file a federal habeas corpus petition. To date, the prosecution has not responded to the defense motion.