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May 11, 2006

The partial de facto moratorium created by Hill

Back in January, I pondered here and here whether the Supreme Court's cert grant in Hill to examine procedural questions surrounding lethal injection challenges "could or should produce a de facto moratorium on lethal injection executions nationwide at least until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in Hill."  For a while, as executions went forward in Texas and a few other states, it seemed that the ripple effect of Hill might not be that profound.

However, today brings news (here and here) that a Tennessee execution scheduled for next week has been stayed by a federal district court.  As noted in this post, Delaware earlier this week put its execution plans on hold, and Ohio also has a similar stay in place.  Based on these developments, Karl Keys provides this insightful update on the ripple effects of Hill:

Texas, Virginia, & Oklahoma are top three killers in the USA when it comes to implementing capital punishment.  The three states account for over 50% of the executions in the USA since 1976.  As of Thursday night, the three are also the only jurisdictions where contested execution dates have not been stayed due to concerns over lethal injection.

So, about 100 days since the cert grant in Hill, the current story seems to be that the case has produced a de facto moratorium in every state except those that are the capital punishment leaders.  Naturally, this bizarre reality leads me to wonder yet again how could (and should) Congress clean up the lethal injection mess?

May 11, 2006 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

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