• Urgent Action


March 8, 2024

Willie Pye is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on March 20, 2024. Now 58, he was sentenced to death for a murder committed in 1992 when he was 27. In 2021, federal judges overturned the death sentence because of the trial lawyer’s failure to investigate and present evidence of Pye’s significantly sub-average intellectual functioning and traumatic childhood. This decision was reversed on appeal, not on the merits but on procedural grounds under a 1996 federal law. His lawyers have presented evidence that he has intellectual disability, but under Georgia’s requirement to prove this ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, his death sentence has been upheld. 

take action:

  • Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  • Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 22.24. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

contact information:

State Board of Pardons and Paroles

2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SE

Suite 430, Balcony Level, West Tower

Atlanta, GA 30334, USA  

Email: [email protected] 

sample letter:

Dear Members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles,

Willie Pye is scheduled to be executed on March 20, 2024, and I urge you to ensure that this execution does not go forward.

Since 2002, the execution of people with intellectual disability has been unconstitutional in the USA. It is undisputed that Willie Pye has significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, with an IQ of 68. State and defense experts agree that Willie Pye presents adaptive deficits – the second element of an intellectual disability assessment – but the state’s expert disputed whether they meet the requisite standard, even though they “affect his ability each and every day to function in the community”.

In 1989, seven years before Willie Pye’s sentencing, the US Supreme Court held that evidence of intellectual disability was a factor that “may well lessen a defendant’s culpability for a capital offense”, and sentencers must be able to “consider and give effect to mitigating evidence of [intellectual disability] in imposing sentence”. At Willie Pye’s sentencing, the jurors were not able to do so as they had heard no evidence of his low intellectual functioning. A three-judge panel found in 2021 that it was clear the lawyer’s representation had been constitutionally inadequate, and that Willie Pye should get a new sentencing, but the full court overturned this, not on the merits, but on legal technicalities relating to the amount of federal deference due state court decisions.

The power of executive clemency exists precisely as a failsafe against injustice that has been left unremedied by the courts. I appeal to you to use your authority to ensure that Willie Pye’s death sentence is commuted.

Yours sincerely,      


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