Williams v. Pennsylvania


Williams v. Pennsylvania, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that a prosecutor involved in seeking the death penalty for a defendant should recuse himself if asked to judge an appeal in the capital case.[1][2]

Williams v. Pennsylvania
Argued February 29, 2016
Decided June 9, 2016
Full case nameTerrance Williams, Petitioner v. Pennsylvania
Docket no.15–5040
Citations579 U.S. ___ (more)
136 S. Ct. 1899; 195 L. Ed. 2d 132
Opinion announcementOpinion announcement
Case history
PriorCommonwealth v. Williams, 629 Pa. 533, 105 A.3d 1234 (2014); cert. granted, 136 S. Ct. 28 (2015).
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Anthony Kennedy · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Samuel Alito · Sonia Sotomayor
Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan
DissentRoberts, joined by Alito
DissentThomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. VIII, XIV

Background


Terrance Williams was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder and robbery of Amos Norwood and then appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The Chief Justice of the state court by that point was Ronald Castille, who had been the local District Attorney of Philadelphia throughout Williams’ trial, sentencing, and appeal, and who had personally authorized his office to seek the death penalty in this case. The attorneys for Williams asked the justice to recuse himself but Castille refused.

Opinion of the Court


Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinion.[2]

References


  1. SCOTUSblog coverage
  2. Williams v. Pennsylvania, No. 15-5040, 579 U.S. ___ (2016).