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Virginia governor stays all state executions pending US Supreme Court ruling

[JURIST] Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine [official website] Tuesday issued a stay of all executions [press release] in the state until the US Supreme Court rules in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; merit briefs], a case challenging the constitutionality of using lethal injection [DPIC backgrounder] as a method of execution. Kaine's announcement came ahead of the scheduled April 8 execution of Virginia inmate Edward Nathaniel Bell, who was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the murder of a police officer.

The Court heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] in Baze on January 7 and a decision is expected before the Court adjourns in June. Since the Court accepted the Baze case in September, courts have stayed executions in several states, including Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida [JURIST reports]. The Washington Post has more.

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