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Judge Stays Terry Williams' Execution

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Sarmina found that he "played games and took unfair measures to win."

Nolan expressed confidence that High Court judges won't overturn her ruling. It's "well-reasoned" and accurate based on clear evidence.

He's also "hopeful that Governor Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons will now grant clemency in light of Judge Sarmina's decision and the significance of" prosecutorial malfeasance.

Previous Attorney General Linda Kelly "voted in favor of clemency. Surely, after considering new evidence, they will not allow this execution to go forward."

A previous article said clemency isn't good enough. If granted, he'll be spared execution by lethal injection. He'll still face life imprisonment without parole. It's hard deciding what's worse - a living death or the real thing.

Terry endured torment from age six. Aren't 38 years enough? He deserves professional counseling, support, love, care, and release when able to cope on his own. 

Odds for a Black man getting this type justice are virtually nil. Jim Crow prosecutors and judges prefer throwing the book at them. Doing so increases their advancement prospects.

A Final Comment

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As of April 2012, nearly 3,200 US prisoners are on death row. California, Florida and Texas are top ranked. Pennsylvania is number four with 204 sentenced to die. Most nationwide are Black or Hispanic.

Many were wrongfully convicted. Rarely do any get second chances. While heading Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project, Professor David Protess and teams of students uncovered 13 wrongful death penalty convictions. One was just hours from execution.

In 2000, their work got then Illinois Governor George Ryan to declare a capital punishment moratorium. On January 11, 2003, two days before leaving office, he cleared death row.

He commuted sentences for 163 men and four women to life in prison. He extended a moratorium on future executions. In March 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation prohibiting them henceforth. He did so saying it's impossible "to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system."

Protess' landmark work created a media and university firestorm. It unfairly led to his dismissal. He literally was suspended by email with no explanation. Doing the right thing got him fired. In the process, he rattled powerful cages.

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Prosecutors, judges, and other state and local officials don't like being held to account. Dirty linen goes with their territory. They want it buried and forgotten. Protess revealed what they wanted concealed.

His treatment constituted textbook academic lynching. His distinguished work deserved praise, not denigration and banishment.

He now heads the Chicago Innocence Project (ChIP). He continues his non-profit investigative work. Its mission statement explains:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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