Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Capital punishment and the Terrance Williams case

Written by Megan Lello, witf Reporter and Producer | Sep 24, 2012 8:18 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Monday, September 24th:

Convicted murderer Terrance “Terry” Williams is the first man set to be executed in Pennsylvania in thirteen years. But his lawyers are trying to save the 46-year-old man’s life just ahead of his October 3rd execution date.

Last week, the state Board of Pardons voted 3-2 to recommend Governor Corbett to grant clemency to Williams. The decision fell short of the unanimous vote needed for the Governor to do so. So, in a last attempt to save their client from being executed next month, Williams’ attorneys are asking the board to reconsider its decision.prison-fence.jpg

But there are several issues complicating the case. Allegations are swirling that Williams, who has been convicted of killing two men in 1984, was sexually abused by his victims as a boy. There are also questions regarding the withholding of evidence at his 1986 trial.

On Monday’s Radio Smart Talk, we’ll talk about the case and the treatment of capital offenders in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Karen Langley, who's been covering the case, weighs in.


Associate Professor Jules Epstein from Widener Law will also join the conversation. Epstein has represented several death row inmates in Pennsylvania and teaches courses on criminal law and evidence.

Spero Lappas, an attorney and Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty board member, will also serve as a guest.

Listen to the program:

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-09-24 08:33

    E-mail from Jim:

    "It has surprised me that people seeking to eliminate or reduce the use of the death penalty rarely use the economic arguments. If fact it is just very expensive to have the death penalty, when you include the additional costs of counsel, mandatory appeals, special investigations, etc., etc."