MS Case May Set A Lethal Injection Moratorium


By 6 p.m. tonight, when a Mississippi inmate is scheduled to die by lethal injection, the Supreme Court may give the clearest indication of whether it intends to call a halt to all such executions while a case from Kentucky remains undecided, says the New York Times. The Mississippi inmate, Earl Berry, convicted of kidnapping and murder in 1988, has been turned down by the Mississippi Supreme Court and by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Noting that Berry's federal-court case challenging lethal injection was not filed until Oct. 18, the appeals court said: “Well-established Fifth Circuit precedent is clear: death-sentenced inmates may not wait until execution is imminent before filing an action to enjoin a state's method of carrying it out.” In the five weeks since the Supreme Court agreed to examine how courts should evaluate the constitutionality of lethal injection, in a case from Kentucky, the national picture has become increasingly confused. The justices allowed one execution to proceed and granted stays in two others.


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