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May 15, 2006

Lethal injection litigation leads to a stay in Texas(!)

Now we know all this lethal injection litigation is getting serious.  Texas has carried out seven executions by lethal injection since the US Supreme Court decided to take up a procedural issue in Hill about constitutional challenges to execution protocols, and some of the executed defendants had raised (and had rejected) claims about the state's lethal injection protocol.  Thus, despite all the swirling lethal injection litigation, I was pretty sure Texas was going to go forward with two additional planned executions this week.

But, in another amazing chapter in the lethal injection litigation saga, today there is now this report that the highest state criminal court in Texas has granted a stay of execution:

Two-time murderer Derrick Sean O'Brien received a stay of execution today, a day before he was set to enter Texas' death chamber, as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ponders his appeal that death by lethal injection poses cruel and unusual punishment.

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Roe Wilson said she was surprised by the court's move. "We have had some (death penalty cases) where that has been a claim and those executions have gone through," Wilson said.... Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas Attorney General's office, said the decision in no way signals a moratorium on executions in the state.

Some recent related posts:

UPDATE: This local article about the stay from the Austin-American Statesman concludes with this interesting passage and quote:

[O]ne national victim advocacy group, Houston-based Justice for All, was quick to criticize the decision — and the delay.  "This is a travesty," said Austin attorney William "Rusty" Hubbarth, the group's vice president for legislative affairs. "It's a bad decision. It effectively blocks executions in Texas . . . They're just following the line in the rest of the country right now."

May 15, 2006 at 05:00 PM | Permalink

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Via Sentencing Law and Policy: The capital drama in Tennessee (background here and here) took another turn this morning as the Sixth Circuit in Alley v. Little, No. 06-5650 (6th Cir. May 16, 2006) (available here) refused to reconsider its... [Read More]

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Comments

And did you hear that Hell has actually frozen over?

Wow.

Posted by: AnonymousCR | May 15, 2006 8:51:28 PM

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