Supreme Court justices hear judicial-bias claim in Pa. death-row case

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 29, 2016 2:35 PM

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia, a flag in the Supreme Court building's front plaza flies at half-staff in Washington.

(Washington) -- The Supreme Court appears likely to side with a Pennsylvania death-row inmate who wants a new hearing in the state's top court because he claims one of its judges was biased against him.

The justices indicated Monday they agree with inmate Terrance ``Terry'' Williams that then-Chief Justice Ronald Castille of Pennsylvania Supreme Court should not have taken part in Williams' case, because Castille signed off on Williams' death penalty prosecution while serving as Philadelphia's district attorney in the 1980s.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was among several justices who said Castille would have been better off stepping aside from Williams' case because ``he signed his name'' to the decision to seek the death penalty.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the passage of nearly three decades does not lessen Castille's conflict.

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