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September 28, 2007

SCOTUS stops Texas execution: is a national Baze moratorium now a given?

As detailed in this AP article from Texas, late last night the "U.S. Supreme Court stopped an execution in the nation's busiest death penalty state after deciding earlier this week to review lethal injection procedures elsewhere."  Here are more details:

The high court, which refused a similar appeal this week from another Texas inmate who wound up being put to death, blocked Texas corrections officials Thursday evening from executing Carlton Turner Jr.  Last-day appeals linked his case with an appeal from two Kentucky inmates who argued lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel.

The justices Tuesday agreed to consider the Kentucky appeal and Turner's case was viewed as a barometer of whether capital punishment in Texas could be placed on hold while the Supreme Court considered that case.  Both states use similar injection procedures employing three drugs — a sedative, a muscle paralyzing drug and a drug that induces cardiac arrest.

"All I can say is: All glory to God," Turner said when he was told by prison officials of the reprieve that kept him from becoming the 27th Texas inmate executed this year.  He had spent much of the day Thursday in a small holding cell a few feet from the death chamber. After the reprieve was issued — about four hours after he could have been put to death and about two hours before his execution warrant would have expired — Turner was returned to death row at a prison about 45 miles to the east.

The Supreme Court reprieve was only one paragraph and gave no reasons for the decision.... Another execution is scheduled for next week, one of at least three more set for this year in Texas.  The status of that case was uncertain in light of Thursday's developments, although it would appear lawyers in that case could file a similar appeal.

September 28, 2007 at 07:16 AM | Permalink

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