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July 12, 2006

Supreme Court grants execution stay in Missippippi

In addition to all sorts of good death penalty coverage, Capital Defense Weekly has the interesting news that the Supreme Court granted a last-minute stay of execution to a Missisippi defendant on Tuesday.  More (sketchy) details about the case and the stay can be found in this AP story, which starts this way:

The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Bobby Glen Wilcher on Tuesday just minutes before the condemned inmate was scheduled to die by lethal injection. Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said Wilcher, who was scheduled to die at 6 p.m. at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, had come closer to death than any inmate under his care before being issued a stay.

The commissioner said Wilcher would be given counseling because he was upset and crying because "he really wanted to die this afternoon." "I've never seen an individual so upset that he didn't get executed," Epps said.

Among the notable features of the stay was that it was granted by a vote of 6-3, with Justices Kennedy and Thomas supporting the stay, and Justices Scalia, Roberts and Alito in dissent.

UPDATE:  SCOTUSblog has details on this intriguing case here.

July 12, 2006 at 02:43 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Interesting case. District Court had denied Wilcher's habeas petition but apparently, two months later, had not issued its opinion. Wilcher, pro se, moved to drop all appeals, asserting that he was innocent but that his living conditions were deplorable and he believed the state would execute him anyway. Hearing of some kind was held. Counsel moved for a contact visit with Wilcher, in which he stated that Wilcher joined, for a contact visit rather than visit over phone in room with thick glass separating prisoner and counsel. All denied, applications made to 5th Cir and Supremes in about a day.

Posted by: David Lewis | Jul 12, 2006 12:37:12 PM

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