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October 7, 2019

Series of state court stays slows down Texas machinery of death

Texas has completed seven executions in 2019 through the end of September, and it had four more executions scheduled for October. But, as of late last week, state courts in Texas have halted the executions of three of the condemned prisoners who were facing October execution dates. Here are links to press reports on these three stays:

From the Texas Tribune, "Texas court halts the execution of Stephen Barbee to consider U.S. Supreme Court precedent: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay in Barbee's case. He was scheduled to be executed Oct. 2."

From the Texas Tribune, "Judge halts execution for man convicted of killing two Henderson County deputies: Randall Mays was scheduled to be executed Oct. 16, but the judge removed the death warrant amid questions that Mays may not be mentally competent to be put to death."

From the Dallas Morning News, "Texas Seven's Randy Halprin has execution stayed after attorneys allege judge was anti-Semite: Halprin, one of seven men who escaped from the John B. Connally Unit on Dec. 13, 2000, was scheduled to die Thursday for his role in the slaying of Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins." 

Because Texas has five more executions already scheduled for the rest of 2019, the state is still likely on pace for another double-digit execution year. But it now seems likely that the state will have fewer executions than the 13 it had last year, and it is now possible that the US as a whole will end up with fewer total executions in 2019 than occurred in 2018.

October 7, 2019 at 02:28 PM | Permalink


From the Randall Mays article: "...but ultimately [the judge] found he was fit for execution. A reason for that finding, Mays’ lawyers claim, was because the Texas prison system had not diagnosed or treated Mays for any relevant mental illness at that time."

How can a judge find that he was competent because he had never been treated? Not being treated has nothing to do with whether or not a disability exists. Interesting, but not unsurprising.

Regarding the Texas seven: all but three have been executed for capital murder, and the remaining three are either dead or on track to be executed; however, it's unlikely that all seven met the elements for capital murder. There could only be one driver to run Hawkins over, after all, and I doubt that all seven had guns and shot him.

Just more inconsistencies in death penalty sentences.

Posted by: Kristen Eby | Oct 7, 2019 5:06:44 PM

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