Wolf, in new court filing, defends use of death row reprieve

The Execution Complex at SCI Rockview (Pa. Department of Corrections)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s governor argues in a new court filing that he has nearly unlimited power to grant reprieves to death row inmates, and he’s urging the state Supreme Court to deny a challenge to his use of that authority.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s lawyers responded Tuesday to a request by Attorney General Kathleen Kane that the justices nullify his moratorium on executing inmates.

Wolf says the legal issues raised by Kane’s office in the case of convicted murderer Hubert Lester Michael Jr. are similar to those already pending before the Supreme Court in another reprieve being challenged by Philadelphia’s district attorney.

Wolf wants the court to deny the attorney general’s petition or put it on hold until the Philadelphia case is heard. Oral argument in that matter is scheduled for September.

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