The Supreme Court yesterday voted 5 to 4 to allow execution plans to continue in Texas for Kevin Lee Zimmerman, who had challenged a drugs used to carry out the death penalty. Zimmerman received a reprieve last week about 20 minutes before he could have been put to death for a fatal stabbing in 1987, the Associated Press reports.
A stay granted by Justice Antonin Scalia last week was vacated over the objections of Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. They wanted to delay a decision in the Zimmerman case until the court rules next year in a case involving an Alabama inmate who argues that execution by lethal injection would be unconstitutionally cruel because of he has collapsed veins.
Zimmerman and other Texas inmates have sued claiming the use of pancuronium bromide — a drug that paralyzes muscles — in executions is cruel and unusual punishment.