Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Supreme Court Halts Execution of Christopher Scott Emmett

Only hours before his scheduled execution, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Christopher Scott Emmmett. For all practical purposes, a moratorium based on the legality of lethal injection executions exists in the United States.

As The Washington Post observes the "stay of execution is the latest reprieve granted nationwide since the high court recently announced that it would review lethal injection to determine if it is cruel and unusual punishment."
Since the Supreme Court decided to review lethal injections, executions by that method have been delayed in states such as Texas, Arkansas and Nevada. Overall, more than a dozen courts, state commissions and governors have delayed lethal injections nationwide over the past several years, some before the recent Supreme Court action.
The Court's ruling was unanimous.

Mr. Emmett came within hours of being executed last June but Gov. Tim Kaine intervened to allow the High Court time to rule on the merit of his argument that he did not have adequate defense. On Oct. 1, the Court declined to hear the case; one remaining defense is that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

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