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August 18, 2009

"Sotomayor on losing end in Ohio man's death appeal"

The title of this post is the headline of this AP article detailing what appears to be Justice Sotomayor's first notable vote in what appears to be the last legal hope for an Ohio death-row defendant. Here are the basics:

Sotomayor made what appears to be her first public decision as a justice on Monday, voting unsuccessfully to delay the execution of an Ohio death row inmate.  She voted along with the court's liberal bloc — Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — to stop the execution of Jason Getsy, whose execution is Tuesday.

In related news, the Sixth Circuit yesterday refused to consider the Getsy case en banc, though the order to that effect, which is available here, included a number of notable dissents.

UPDATE:  This AP article reports that the state of Ohio executed Jason Getsy on Tuesday morning, apparently without any obvious problems relating to Ohio's lethal injection protocol:

Getsy tilted his head to the left and appeared to smile at his aunt and uncle and spiritual adviser before his eyes closed at about 10:19 a.m. His chest rose and fell three times and then he was still.  "Sleep my friend, sleep," said Saundra Cardillo, the wife of Getsy's spiritual adviser.

Warden Phillip Kerns shook Getsy and called his name to see if he was unconscious, as part of prison policy when putting inmates to death.  A member of the execution team re-entered the death chamber and checked the shunts on both arms after the administration of the first drug, which puts inmates to sleep, also part of prison policy.

August 18, 2009 at 06:53 AM | Permalink


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What a surprise--Sotomayor is a liberal hack voting with three other lawless liberals.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 18, 2009 10:26:03 AM

This is exactly the sort of proceeding that bothers me about the current focus on death. This convict does not contest his guilt, not even particularly well in a technical innocence of the death penalty sort of way. Given the results of other challenges to the Ohio execution protocol even if he were allowed to continue this charade it would come to the same result.

And if the AEDPA clock were to reset after every protocol change states wouldn't even bother trying to implement better procedures as new information is learned. They would simply get whatever they happen to have confirmed as meeting Bayz rather low threshold and then never change it again.

The resources focused on a handful of outlier cases would be spent much better policing the abuses in the myriad non-capital cases. Certainly I found his disparity argument to be entirely unpersuasive, unwarranted leniency for one defendant should not provide another defendant with a trump card.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Aug 18, 2009 10:41:00 AM

Baze sets a standard for when a stay of execution should be granted. The Sixth Circuit order doesn't even bother to discuss it. Lawless hacks.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 18, 2009 10:49:38 AM

Should read, "Sixth Circuit dissents from the order"

Posted by: federalist | Aug 18, 2009 11:00:13 AM

Rev. Schmalzried was just trying to remind Warren citizens tht another animal got his just rewards. The bells were easier than going door to door!
More information on US Official Tabloid Gossip


Posted by: US Official Tabloid Gossip | Aug 18, 2009 1:24:59 PM

Getsy's execution date was set months ago. They always wait until the last minute to pressure the courts into granting a stay. The Sixth Circuit is almost as bad as the Ninth. They got reversed on capital cases all 3 times last term. Gov Strickland has guts after all letting the execution proceed. Ohio has carried out 4 of the last 6 executions. Unfortunately, the Governor of my state Florida, has gotten soft on death cases.

Posted by: DaveP | Aug 18, 2009 5:48:54 PM

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