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Federal appeals court rejects Georgia death sentence challenge

[JURIST] The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] rejected a Georgia death row inmate's challenge to the state's method of execution Tuesday, ruling that he had missed the statute of limitations to file. Samuel David Crowe [advocacy profile] was convicted of murder and is scheduled to be executed Thursday. He could become the second condemned inmate in the state, after the execution of William Earl Lynd [JURIST report] earlier this month, to be put to death since the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the three-drug lethal injection cocktail [DPIC backgrounder] used does not violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more.

In September 2007, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Baze v. Rees [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], allowing it to consider whether the lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. This led to an effective moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty in the United States as many federal courts, state courts, and state governors put executions on hold pending the high court's ruling.

5/23/08 - The Georgia Pardons and Parole Board granted clemency to Samuel Crowe Thursday. The Board reduced his sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole after meeting with supporters and reviewing testimonials as to his character. The decision was made just two-and-a-half hours before his scheduled execution. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has local coverage.

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