US Supreme Court justice issues order halting Missouri execution News
US Supreme Court justice issues order halting Missouri execution

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito [official profile] issued an order [text] Tuesday evening halting the execution of Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew. Bucklew’s attorneys have asked [WP report] courts to stay the execution because of Bucklew’s medical conditions. According to an affidavit from Dr. Joel B. Zivot [official profile], an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Bucklew suffers from numerous congenital health conditions that put him at high risk of choking or suffocating during an execution. A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] suspended the execution [WP report] Tuesday after a request from Bucklew’s attorneys for a stay. The full Eighth Circuit reversed the panel’s decision Tuesday evening, allowing for the execution to go ahead until Justice Alito’s intervention. The full Supreme Court is likely to review Justice Alito’s order Wednesday and decide whether to hear Bucklew’s challenge to his execution.

If the Supreme Court upholds Bucklew’s execution, he will be the first inmate executed since the botched execution [JURIST report] of Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett on April 30. Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled [JURIST report] that a state law that makes the identity of an execution drug supplier a “confidential state secret” is constitutional. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday granted [JURIST report] a stay of execution for a Texas inmate just hours before he was to be put to death in order to review his claim that he is intellectually disabled. Also in May the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals [official website] approved [JURIST report] a six-month stay of execution for a current death row inmate while an investigation is conducted into issues with the execution of Lockett.

11:00 PM EST ~ The full Supreme Court has blocked the execution [order, PDF] pending a resolution by the Eighth Circuit.