Death Row inmates win requests for case reviews

first_imgIn the other case, justices ruled 5-3 that Tennessee Death Row inmate Paul Gregory House can use new evidence to try to get his conviction overturned in the 1985 murder of a neighbor. DNA testing revealed that semen found on Carolyn Muncey’s nightgown and underwear belonged to her husband, not House. “House has cast considerable doubt on his guilt,” Kennedy wrote. The ruling lowers the bar for inmates who want to get a new hearing on evidence that was not used at their trials.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2It was a slap to the Bush administration and 25 states, which supported Florida in arguing that allowing new appeals would jeopardize finality and justice for victims’ families. “A series of court rulings have created so many chances for appeal that whether we have the death penalty or not is almost becoming moot when people are spending all of their natural lives on Death Row rather than having the sentence be complete,” Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday. The winner in the case was Death Row inmate Clarence Hill, who was strapped to a gurney with lines running into his arms to deliver the drugs in January when Kennedy, acting on behalf of the court, intervened and blocked the execution. Hill is on Death Row for the 1982 killing of Pensacola, Fla., police Officer Stephen Taylor. Following the court’s intervention in the Hill case, executions were stopped in California, Maryland and Missouri. Another state, North Carolina, began using a brain-wave monitor in executions to assure a federal judge that inmates would not suffer pain. In California, attorneys for Michael Morales, who had been scheduled to be executed last February for the 1981 murder of a Stockton teenager, have filed a lawsuit arguing that Morales might feel too much pain if the sedative used in the lethal injection process did not make him unconscious before two other drugs were administered – one to paralyze him and another to stop his heart. WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court made it easier Monday for Death Row inmates to contest the lethal injections used across the country for executions and to get DNA evidence before judges in a pair of rulings that hinted at fresh caution on capital punishment. The decisions, both written by moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, ease the rules for longtime prisoners to get their cases back into court and could add years to their appeals. “Today’s decisions are further evidence of the Supreme Court’s increasing discomfort with many aspects of the death penalty system,” said Steven Shapiro, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. The vote was unanimous in allowing condemned inmates to make special federal court claims that the chemicals used in executions are too painful – and therefore amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. last_img read more