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The Board of Pardons unanimously recommended Bruce Norris for a commutation in December, but Tom Wolf had yet to approve it.
Advocates had hoped Governor Tom Wolf would use his executive reprieve power to release thousands of people from prisons in the face of COVID-19.
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
They tell Tom Wolf that taking any unilateral actions to reduce the state’s prison population would endanger public safety.
The Office of General Counsel determined that the governor could likely use reprieves to release vulnerable people from prison to control COVID-19’s spread, but the office is advising against it, according to internal emails obtained by The Appeal.
State governors and the president have the authority to grant commutations and reprieves to people in prison across the country as COVID-19 spreads.