Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The death chamber in Huntsville shuttered?

Last week the Supreme Court granted review on a lethal injection from Kentucky. A few days later it stopped an execution in progress in Texas based on a lethal injection challenge. At that time experts debated whether a de facto moratorium existed, all noted that if the next execution was stayed it would be safe to say a de facto moratorium existed.

There now apparently exists a de facto moratorium, at least in Texas, and likely nationally.

Heliberto Chi was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday.

“I think we can now have a substantive debate on the manner in which we execute people in Texas,” said Houston attorney David Dow, one of the lawyers seeking to spare Chi from the execution that had been scheduled for Wednesday evening in Huntsville.

Dow of Houston, represents the Honduran government, and Wes Ball represents Chi. They noted in separate filings to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that the U.S. Supreme Court last week blocked the execution of Texas inmate Carlton Turner because the justices were preparing to consider whether any pain inflicted by three-drug lethal cocktails violates the constitution ban on cruel and unusual punishment. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

Earlier today, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 4-3 not to grant Chi a 6-month stay.

With all that stated, William Castillo is still likely to be executed in Nevada on October 15th as he has apparently waived all remaining appeals

[cross-posted at CDW]

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