The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of an ex-Marine in Texas.

Spread the love

The Supreme Court postponed the execution of a Marine Corps veteran convicted of killing a convenience store worker in Texas in 2004 on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, John Ramirez, 37, was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the Huntsville Unit for the murder of Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Ramirez sought a stay of execution, citing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s policies regarding spiritual counsellors during executions. Although the law allows a spiritual adviser to be present in the execution chamber, Ramirez requested that Pastor Dana Moore be permitted to place his hands on him and pray aloud during the execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, however, that allowing the spiritual adviser to touch Ramirez during the execution could threaten the procedure.

The Supreme Court was requested to examine the appeal court’s ruling in a brief on Tuesday. In a separate appeal, his lawyers requested the Supreme Court to issue its own stay to give them more time to resolve the initial request for a review.

On Wednesday night, Justice Samuel Alito granted the stay.

When the Supreme Court halted an execution after Texas refused to allow an inmate to have a Buddhist spiritual adviser with him for the lethal injection two years ago, the TDCJ banned chaplains from accessing the state’s execution chambers.

READ ALSO:  Fast-spreading UK coronavirus variant could be dominant in U.S. by March, CDC says

The state lifted the ban in April, revising its policy to allow death row prisoners to designate a corrections chaplain or other spiritual adviser of their choosing to be present inside the death chamber.

 

The state lifted the ban in April, revising its policy to allow death row prisoners to designate a corrections chaplain or other spiritual adviser of their choosing to be present inside the death chamber.

The Death Penalty Action organization on Tuesday called attention to Ramirez’s military service and said the criminal justice system ought to consider whether veterans should be eligible for the death penalty, given the mental health challenges many of them face after service. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that about 30% of military vets have mental health problems after service, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Retired Navy Capt. Art Cody, director of criminal programs at the Veteran Advocacy Project and a member of the DPA board, said Ramirez should be held accountable for his crime, but that it could be accomplished without executing him.

READ ALSO:  Is Pompeo changing tack on Turkey? - Analysis

“The military experience, particularly if it involves combat, indelibly shapes the veteran, and often has significant causal or mitigation implications relating to criminal offenses,” he wrote in a blog post.

“Yet far too often that experience and its effects upon the veteran are neither properly treated by the VA nor adequately presented by the defense bar to juries and judges considering capital punishment, if they are treated or presented at all.”

If Texas executes Ramirez on Wednesday, it’ll be the third death sentence carried out by the state and sixth in the United States in 2021.

 242 

Leave a Reply