Staying Executions

The implications of the US Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in Baze v. Rees (considering the constitutionality of certain combinations of chemicals used in lethal injections) are beginning to show (earlier post). Yesterday, Texas – the US’ ‘leading death penalty state’ – stayed the execution of Heliberto Chi who was due to be executed by lethal injection today (Wednesday) for a murder carried out in 2001.

The New York Times has more here.

US Supreme Court to Hear Death Penalty Case

The US Supreme Court yesterday confirmed that it would hear Baze v. Rees (07-543) in the upcoming term. The case will involve the Court in considering what standard ought to be used to determine whether a particular combination of chemicals used in a lethal injection causes excessive pain and suffering and ought not to be allowed. The case does not involve an imminent execution, therefore it is unlikely that briefing and hearings will be expedited, but it will mark the first time the Court has considered the constitutionality of various methods of execution since Wilkerson v. Utah, decided in 1878.

See the petition for certiorari here and the supplemental filing here.

In a tangential development, Italy yesterday urged UN member states to consider imposing a global moritorium on the death penalty with a view to its abolition – UN News Centre report.