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October 18, 2012

SCOTUS stays a Texas execution, refuses stay in Florida case

As detailed in orders here and here, this afternoon the Supreme Court granted a stay to stop the execution of Texas death row inmate Anthony Haynes who was due to be executed this evening (background in this local press report), and denied a stay and the cert petition for Florida death row inmate John Ferguson (background in this local press report).

October 18, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Permalink


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The Texas stay is yet another lawless stay. The Court is acting irresponsibly. As the Court has noted, the state's interest (to say nothing of that of the victims' families) is strongest after the murderer has had a full round of review. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Court to at least explain its rationale for the stay--the victim's family (and a decent respect for our federal system) demand that. Here, we have an unquestionably guilty murder who has had his full panoply of review. The Supreme Court has looked at his case once, and then denied rehearing. The state set a date in due course.

This stay is disgusting. I am not sure when the Rule 60(b) motion was filed by the killer's lawyers, but if it was done at the last minute (and the motion could have been filed immediately after the rehearing denial), that, in and of itself, should mean no stay. And if the killer filed his motion in August, then the federal courts deserve rebuke for not getting the review done in time. But all of that is irrelevant anyway. Congress drafted AEDPA to prevent this sort of nonsense. The federal courts have had their look at this case--they shouldn't get a do-over because they changed the rules after the decision.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 19, 2012 10:31:28 AM

The Supreme Court meant what it said in Martinez . . . it's good to see the Fifth Circuit get its deserved dose of discipline.

Posted by: SashokJD | Oct 19, 2012 10:17:44 PM

Hmmmm, Sashok. You have a JD in your nickname, but I am wondering where you went to law school. The issue in this case isn't whether the Fifth Circuit is following Martinez (as you imply); rather it's whether a Rule 60(b) motion can rip open a settled judgment denying federal habeas. There's nothing in Martinez that the Fifth Circuit could remotely be violating. Why don't we start by getting that right?

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