Entries tagged with “Stays of Execution

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Intellectual Disability

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Upcoming Executions

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Oct 21, 2021

Alabama Executes Intellectually Disabled Death-Row Prisoner

Alabama has exe­cut­ed an intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled death-row pris­on­er who was sen­tenced to death by his tri­al judge despite a non-unan­i­mous sen­tenc­ing rec­om­men­da­tion by his jury. Willie B. Smith III was exe­cut­ed by three-drug lethal injec­tion on October 21, 2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his appeal of a low­er fed­er­al court rul­ing deny­ing his claim that the state’s choice to exe­cute him by lethal injec­tion vio­lat­ed his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Mental Illness

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Race

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Executions Overview

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May 11, 2016

Alabama Prepares to Execute 65-Year-Old Mentally Ill Prisoner Disabled by Several Strokes

UPDATE: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit stayed Madison’s exe­cu­tion, order­ing oral argu­ment on his com­pe­ten­cy claim. Previously: Alabama is prepar­ing to exe­cute Vernon Madison (pic­tured) on May 12, as his lawyers con­tin­ue to press their claim that the 65-year-old pris­on­er is incom­pe­tent to be executed.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Upcoming Executions

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May 15, 2020

As Blood Spatter Evidence Causes Jurors to Question His Guilt, Missouri Prepares to Execute Walter Barton

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has vacat­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion for Missouri death-row pris­on­er Walter Barton (pic­tured) who is sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The court’s unsigned opin­ion, issued on Sunday, May 17, lift­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion that had been issued May 15 by a fed­er­al dis­trict court judge. The dis­trict court said a stay was nec­es­sary to afford it time to address a peti­tion Barton had filed that chal­lenged his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence based upon new foren­sic evidence…

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Representation

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Lethal Injection

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Mar 01, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of February 222021

NEWS (2/​25/​21) — Alabama: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has denied habeas relief for Alabama death-row pris­on­er Charles Clark, who the tri­al court had sen­tenced to death based upon a non-unan­i­mous jury sen­tenc­ing vote. Clark had argued that the tri­al court improp­er­ly ordered that he be shack­led dur­ing the tri­al, with­out an ade­quate jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and with­out plac­ing the rea­sons for shack­ling him on the record. His tri­al coun­sel had waived the claim by fail­ing to object and Clark argued that this fail­ure con­sti­tut­ed inef­fec­tive assis­tance of…

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Innocence

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Representation

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United States Supreme Court

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Women

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Feb 15, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of February 82021

NEWS (2/​11/​21) — Alabama: In a splin­tered vote with three con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices not­ing their dis­sents, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Alabama Attorney General’s appli­ca­tion to vacate a fed­er­al appeals court injunc­tion that had halt­ed that night’s sched­uled exe­cu­tion of Willie B. Smith III unless the state per­mit­ted his pas­tor to be present in the death cham­ber to pro­vide reli­gious com­fort dur­ing his exe­cu­tion. In a sec­ond night-of-exe­cu­tion order, the Court lift­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion based on Smith’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act that Alabama had failed…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Race

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Upcoming Executions

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Jul 01, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of June 292020

NEWS (7/​2/​20) — Florida: The Florida Supreme Court denied relief to death-row pris­on­er Leroy Pooler, apply­ing two recent deci­sions that retroac­tive­ly rescind­ed case prece­dent that could have over­turned his death sentence. 

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Intellectual Disability

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Race

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Upcoming Executions

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Nov 09, 2020

Citing COVID-19, Governor Grants Reprieve to Tennessee Death-Row Prisoner Pervis Payne

Citing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has grant­ed a tem­po­rary reprieve to death-row pris­on­er Pervis Payne, halt­ing his sched­uled December 3, 2020 exe­cu­tion. The exe­cu­tion was the last sched­uled by any state in 2020, assur­ing that states will car­ry out few­er exe­cu­tions in 2020 than in any oth­er year since 1983.

Policy Issues

Secrecy

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Lethal Injection

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Dec 02, 2020

Citing State’s Lack of Execution Drugs, South Carolina Supreme Court Stays Richard Moore’s Execution

Saying that the state lacked the abil­i­ty to car­ry out a lethal injec­tion, the South Carolina Supreme Court has stayed the sched­uled December 4, 2020 exe­cu­tion of Richard Moore (pic­tured). With no state exe­cu­tions sched­uled for the remain­der of the year, the stay means that states will car­ry out few­er exe­cu­tions in 2020 than in any year since 1983.

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Mar 11, 2021

Civil Rights Groups Accuse California District Attorneys of Unlawfully Interfering in Death Penalty Lawsuit

Five civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tions have asked a California appeals court to block the efforts of three coun­ty dis­trict attor­neys to lift stays of exe­cu­tion agreed to by the state as part of a fed­er­al-court set­tle­ment of death-row pris­on­ers’ chal­lenge to California’s lethal-injec­tion pro­to­col. [UPDATE: On March 9, 2021, the First District Court of Appeals dis­missed the groups’ lawsuit.]

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Clemency

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Upcoming Executions

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May 21, 2021

Court Halts Execution of Terminally Ill Idaho Death-Row Prisoner

An Idaho tri­al court has stayed the sched­uled June 2, 2021 exe­cu­tion of Gerald Pizzuto, Jr. (pic­tured), halt­ing state pros­e­cu­tors’ efforts to put the hos­pice-bound ter­mi­nal­ly ill pris­on­er to death before his stage‑4 can­cer can take his life and state offi­cials can con­sid­er his peti­tion for clemency.

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Federal Death Penalty

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Dec 28, 2020

District Court Voids Lisa Montgomery Execution Date; Federal Prosecutors Appeal

Saying the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) act­ed unlaw­ful­ly in reset­ting Lisa Montgomerys exe­cu­tion for January 12, 2021, a fed­er­al judge in Washington has for a sec­ond time blocked efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to put to death the only woman on fed­er­al death row. In an order issued late in the day on December 24, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss agreed with Montgomery’s lawyers that the BOP lacked legal author­i­ty to resched­ule Montgomery’s exe­cu­tion while a pre-exist­ing stay of exe­cu­tion is still in place,…

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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United States Supreme Court

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Methods of Execution

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Jan 28, 2022

Divided Supreme Court Vacates Injunction, Permits Alabama to Execute Intellectually Disabled Prisoner

A divid­ed U.S. Supreme Court vot­ed 5 – 4 on January 27, 2022 to allow Alabama to exe­cute an intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled death-row pris­on­er, vacat­ing an injunc­tion issued by a fed­er­al dis­trict court on January 7 and unan­i­mous­ly upheld by a pan­el of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on January 26.

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Lethal Injection

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Oct 18, 2021

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Oklahoma Death-Row Prisoners to Lawsuit in Decision That May Require State to Vacate Execution Dates

In a deci­sion with poten­tial to vacate a num­ber of Oklahoma exe­cu­tion dates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has held that a low­er fed­er­al court abused its dis­cre­tion in dis­miss­ing six death-row pris­on­ers from a law­suit chal­leng­ing the state’s exe­cu­tion protocol.

Executions

Federal Death Penalty

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Sep 23, 2020

Federal Government Conducts Sixth and Seventh Executions Amid Continuing Litigation Over COVID-19 and the Legality of Its Execution Protocol

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment con­duct­ed its sixth and sev­enth exe­cu­tions in ten weeks on September 22 and 24, putting William Emmett LeCroy (pic­tured) and Christopher Vialva to death amid con­tin­u­ing chal­lenges to the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col and to car­ry­ing out exe­cu­tions dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. As the fed­er­al appeal courts set aside LeCroy’s exe­cu­tion chal­lenges, Vialva’s law­suit chal­leng­ing the legal­i­ty of the fed­er­al exe­cu­tion pro­to­col remained pend­ing in the U.S. Supreme Court. After the Court denied Vialva’s stay appli­ca­tion and peti­tion for review, his exe­cu­tion moved for­ward on September 24.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Mental Illness

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Upcoming Executions

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May 01, 2020

Missouri Supreme Court Denies Stay of May 19 Execution for Brain-Damaged Man Tried Five Times for the Same Murder

In a case long marred by pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, the Missouri Supreme Court has denied a stay of exe­cu­tion for Walter Barton (pic­tured), reject­ing his claims of inno­cence and incom­pe­tence to be exe­cut­ed. The court’s rul­ing on April 27, 2020 made no men­tion of Barton’s addi­tion­al request to put off his exe­cu­tion because of pub­lic health dan­gers relat­ing to the coro­n­avirus pandemic.

Policy Issues

Representation

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Clemency

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Upcoming Executions

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May 11, 2020

New Podcast: Capital Defense Lawyer Kelley Henry on Death Penalty Litigation During a Pandemic

In the May 2020 edi­tion of Discussions with DPIC, vet­er­an cap­i­tal defense lawyer Kelley Henry (pic­tured), who is rep­re­sent­ing sev­er­al Tennessee death-row pris­on­ers fac­ing exe­cu­tion dates in 2020, speaks with DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham about the unprece­dent­ed chal­lenges of lit­i­gat­ing death-penal­ty cas­es dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Henry, a Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender in Nashville, pro­vides an inside view of how the extend­ed pub­lic health emer­gency has affect­ed end-stage lit­i­ga­tion in death-penal­ty cas­es, espe­cial­ly the final inves­ti­ga­tions and clemen­cy efforts that take place in the months lead­ing up to…

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Sep 16, 2020

News Brief — COVID-19 Halts Another State Execution

NEWS (9/​15/​20) — Texas: A Bexar County tri­al court judge has issued an order with­draw­ing the death war­rant that had sched­uled Carlos Trevino’s exe­cu­tion for September 30, 2020. The court cit­ed the cur­rent COVID-19 con­di­tions in Texas” as the grounds for postponement. 

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Executions Overview

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Feb 29, 2020

News Brief — Death Warrants and Stays Through February 2020

NEWS (2/​29/​20): Four states and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment had sched­uled 12 exe­cu­tions to take place in January or February 2020. Through February 2020, four exe­cu­tions had been car­ried out: two in Texas and one each in Georgia and Tennessee. (To enlarge map, click here.)

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Apr 06, 2020

News Brief — Fourth Texas Execution Put on Hold Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

NEWS (4/​6/​20) — Texas: A Texas tri­al court has resched­uled the exe­cu­tion of Billy Joe Wardlow from April 29, 2020 until July 8, 2020, the fourth exe­cu­tion in Texas that has been post­poned because of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. District Judge Angela Saucier grant­ed a motion filed by the Morris County District Attorney’s office to resched­ule the exe­cu­tion, rather than with­draw­ing the death war­rant as a defense motion had request­ed. If the court had with­drawn the war­rant, pros­e­cu­tors would have been required to seek a new death war­rant, a process that…

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Botched Executions

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Apr 14, 2020

News Brief — Governor DeWine Puts Off Three More Ohio Executions, Citing Drug Unavailability

NEWS (4/​14/​20) — Ohio: Citing the con­tin­u­ing unavail­abil­i­ty of lethal-injec­tion drugs to car­ry out exe­cu­tions in the state, Governor Mike DeWine has issued reprieves post­pon­ing the exe­cu­tions of three more Ohio death-row pris­on­ers. Romell Broom, John Hanna, and Douglas Coley had been sched­uled for exe­cu­tion on June 17, July 16, and August 12, 2020, respec­tive­ly. Their exe­cu­tions were resched­uled for March 16, May 18, and July 202022.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Upcoming Executions

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May 07, 2020

News Brief — Texas Appeals Court Stays Randall Mays’ Execution on Issue of Intellectual Disability

NEWS (5/​7/​20) — Texas: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has grant­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion to Randall Mays, direct­ing a Henderson County tri­al court to review Mays’ claim that he is inel­i­gi­ble for the death penal­ty because of intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty. The appeals court declined to address claims that Mays’ con­vic­tion and death sen­tence had been taint­ed by racial bias and juror mis­con­duct and that he had been sub­ject to improp­er inter­ro­ga­tion by law enforcement.

Executions

Upcoming Executions

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Apr 01, 2020

News Brief — Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Stays Third Execution Amidst Coronavirus Concerns

NEWS (4/​1/​20) — Texas: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has grant­ed a 60-day stay of exe­cu­tion to Fabian Hernandez, the third stay of exe­cu­tion it has grant­ed dur­ing the coro­n­avirus State of Disaster declared by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Although the court’s order does­n’t spec­i­fy a rea­son for the stay, Hernandez’s coun­sel filed a motion seek­ing to delay his exe­cu­tion based on the cur­rent health cri­sis, the enor­mous resources need­ed to address the emer­gency,” and coun­sel’s inabil­i­ty to pro­vide mean­ing­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion at this time.

Facts & Research

Clemency

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Upcoming Executions

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Botched Executions

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Lethal Injection

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Dec 07, 2021

Oklahoma Executes Bigler Stouffer After Governor Rejects Board Recommendation for Clemency, Federal Courts Deny Stay

Oklahoma exe­cut­ed Bigler Jobe Stouffer II (pic­tured, at his clemen­cy hear­ing) on December 9, 2021, after Governor Kevin Stitt reject­ing a par­dons board rec­om­men­da­tion to com­mute his sen­tence to life with­out parole and the fed­er­al courts denied his appli­ca­tions to stay his exe­cu­tion. Stouffer, 79, was the old­est pris­on­er put to death in Oklahoma. It was the eleventh and final exe­cu­tion of 2021.

Executions

Lethal Injection

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Nov 22, 2017

South Carolina Seeks Drug-Secrecy Law to Carry Out Execution that was Never Going to Happen

Claiming that a lack of lethal-injec­tion drugs was pre­vent­ing the state from exe­cut­ing Bobby Wayne Stone (pic­tured, right) on December 1, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (pic­tured, left) urged state leg­is­la­tors to act quick­ly to enact an exe­cu­tion-drug secre­cy law. But as McMaster and Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling held a press con­fer­ence out­side barbed-wire fences at the Broad River Capital Punishment Facility in Columbia, South Carolina on November 20, they knew, crit­ics say, that there was no lethal-drug emer­gency and that the death war­rant against Stone was never…

Executions

Methods of Execution

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Jun 17, 2021

South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens

The South Carolina Supreme Court has vacat­ed death war­rants for two death-row pris­on­ers sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed this month, stay­ing their exe­cu­tions until the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDOC) com­plies with a new­ly enact­ed state law requir­ing that it offer con­demned pris­on­ers the option of being exe­cut­ed by fir­ing squad.

Facts & Research

Religion

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Upcoming Executions

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Feb 10, 2021

Supreme Court Lets Stand Federal Appeals Court Injunction Halting Alabama Execution on Claim of Religious Discrimination

Four hours after Alabama was sched­uled to exe­cute death-row pris­on­er Willie B. Smith III on February 11, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a fed­er­al appeals court injunc­tion bar­ring the exe­cu­tion from going for­ward unless the state per­mit­ted Smith’s pas­tor to be present to pro­vide him reli­gious com­fort in the exe­cu­tion cham­ber. Alabama then announced that it was call­ing off the execution.

Facts & Research

Religion

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United States Supreme Court

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Mar 25, 2022

Supreme Court Rules that Texas Must Allow Death-Row Prisoner’s Pastor to Touch and Pray Over Him During His Execution

On March 24, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed low­er court orders that had denied a Texas death-row prisoner’s request for his pas­tor to touch him and audi­bly pray dur­ing his exe­cu­tion. In rul­ing for John Henry Ramirez (pic­tured), the Court empha­sized Texas’ abil­i­ty to pre­vent any delay of his exe­cu­tion by sim­ply cre­at­ing rea­son­able pro­ce­dures to allow Ramirez the accom­mo­da­tions he seeks. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opin­ion of the court, joined by sev­en oth­er Justices. Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dis­senter, char­ac­ter­iz­ing Ramirez’s pur­suit of post-con­vic­tion litigation…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Women

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Federal Death Penalty

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Jan 13, 2021

Supreme Court Vacates Stays of Execution, Paves Way for Late-Night Execution of Lisa Montgomery

After a series of rul­ings by the United States Supreme Court sum­mar­i­ly vacat­ed two stays of exe­cu­tion and denied attempts to rein­state two oth­ers, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment exe­cut­ed death row pris­on­er Lisa Montgomery (pic­tured) on January 13, 2021. Montgomery, the only woman on fed­er­al death row, was the first woman exe­cut­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in more than 67 years, the first per­son exe­cut­ed in the U.S. in 2021, and the 11th pris­on­er put to death in a six-month fed­er­al exe­cu­tion spree with­out par­al­lel in the 20th or 21st centuries.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Representation

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Upcoming Executions

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Apr 17, 2020

Tennessee Supreme Court Stays Prisoner’s Execution Because of Investigative Time Lost to Pandemic

The Tennessee Supreme Court has stayed the June 4, 2020 exe­cu­tion of death-row pris­on­er Oscar Franklin Smith (pic­tured) and resched­uled his exe­cu­tion for February 4, 2021. The order, issued on April 17, 2020, grant­ed a stay request filed by Smith’s lawyers, who had sought a post­pone­ment on the grounds that, because of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, they had lost crit­i­cal time” for inves­ti­ga­tion in the case.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Upcoming Executions

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Apr 25, 2022

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Stays Melissa Lucio’s Execution and Orders Hearing on Her Innocence Claims

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halt­ed the sched­uled April 27, 2022 exe­cu­tion of Melissa Lucio and direct­ed that a Cameron County tri­al court con­duct a hear­ing to address evi­dence that she may be inno­cent of charges that she mur­dered her two-year-old daugh­ter, Mariah (pic­tured, being held by her mother).

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Intellectual Disability

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Executions Overview

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Mar 04, 2022

Texas Court Stays Michael Gonzales Execution to Permit Review of Claims of Intellectual Disability, Prosecutorial Misconduct

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stayed the March 8, 2022 exe­cu­tion of death-row pris­on­er Michael Gonzales (pic­tured, sec­ond from left, with his legal team) based on evi­dence that he may be inel­i­gi­ble for the death penal­ty because of intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty and that pros­e­cu­tors with­held favor­able evi­dence from the defense at the time of trial.

Policy Issues

Representation

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Religion

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Upcoming Executions

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Oct 12, 2021

Texas Federal Court Stays Execution of Stephen Barbee on Religious Freedom Issue, Defense Seeks Review of False Forensic Testimony

A fed­er­al court in Texas has stayed the October 12, 2021 exe­cu­tion of Texas death-row pris­on­er Stephen Barbee on his claims that the state’s refusal to allow his spir­i­tu­al advi­sor to admin­is­ter last rites, touch him, or pray out loud in the exe­cu­tion cham­ber vio­lates his con­sti­tu­tion­al and fed­er­al statu­to­ry rights to free exer­cise of reli­gion. Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued the stay on October 7, 2021, cit­ing the U.S. Supreme Court’s deci­sion to hear argu­ment on the same…

Facts & Research

Religion

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United States Supreme Court

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Executions Overview

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Sep 09, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Texas Execution, Agrees to Review Contours of the Right to Religious Exercise in the Execution Chamber

In an after-hours order issued on September 8, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court halt­ed Texass planned exe­cu­tion of John Henry Ramirez and agreed to review his claim that the state’s refusal to allow his pas­tor to lay hands” on him or pray audi­bly dur­ing the exe­cu­tion vio­lat­ed fed­er­al law and his First Amendment right to the free exer­cise of religion.