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April 1, 2008

Virginia Gov announces (quasi-)moratorium on executions until Baze

Because the Supreme Court has already created a de facto moratoirum on executions nationwide (which has now gone on more than six months), I am not sure this new moratorium story from Virginia is really big news.  Nevertheless, the details seem worth a mention:

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced today a moratorium on executions until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Kaine delayed the scheduled April 8 execution of Edward Nathaniel Bell, who killed a police officer in Winchester in 1999, until at least July. Along with that decision, Kaine said future scheduled executions will also be put on hold until after the Supreme Court makes its ruling in the case Baze v. Rees. "Stays in the final hours before an execution can take an emotional and physical toll on those who must prepare for the execution," Kaine said in explaining his decision.

Kaine's move is largely symbolic because the Supreme Court hasn't allowed an execution to move forward since it took up the Baze v. Rees case in September. The case centers on challenges from two death row inmates in Kentucky. The justices could rule by July. Bell's execution date now is set for July 24.

April 1, 2008 at 05:11 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Gov Kaine opposes the death penalty (due to his religious beliefs as a Catholic) and has vetoed bills attempting to expand the death penalty here in Virginia (some of which were overrode by the General Assembly). He's also represented defendants in death penalty cases and represented a death row inmate on appeals - so his sympathies are definitely against execution.

Posted by: Zack | Apr 2, 2008 10:09:25 AM

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