News & Developments — Pennsylvania Federal Court Stays Execution of Jordan Clemons

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has stayed the execution of Jordan Clemons, which had been scheduled for March 13, 2020. As required by a law enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1995, Clemons was the subject of a legally premature execution date, even though he had not yet had the opportunity to appeal his conviction and death sentence in state or federal post-conviction proceedings and was entitled to pursue those appeals. The one-sentence order, issued February 11, 2020, stays Mr. Clemons execution “pending completion of these habeas corpus proceedings or until further order of this Court.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has imposed a moratorium on executions in the state and has refused to sign death warrants. In the absence of a warrant, the law requires the Secretary of the Department of Corrections to set an execution date, and Sec. John Wetzel issued a “notice of execution” on February 10.