In January 1986,newly elected Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Castille decided to pursue the death penalty against an 18-year-old, Terrance Williams, accused of beating a man to death and setting him on fire. 26 years later, Castille, now the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice, refused to recuse himself from hearing an appeal of the same case alleging prosecutorial misconduct. Instead, Justice Castille remained part of the panel that ultimately overturned a lower court finding that granted Williams a new sentencing hearing. The court found thePhiladelphia DA’s office had withheld exculpatory, mitigating evidence from the trial, including that Williams had been sexually abused by his victim, who had a history of sexual offenses. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on the case, and its decision could have a lasting impact on how disqualifications of judges are handled, given the current patchwork of statewide rules in place across the country. To read the rest of this article head to The Pittsburgh Post Gazette here.
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