US Supreme Court authorizes execution of eighth federal death row inmate since July
@ WikiMedia (Florida Department of Corrections/Doug Smith)
US Supreme Court authorizes execution of eighth federal death row inmate since July

The US Supreme Court vacated a stay of execution for Orlando Hall Thursday evening, resulting in Hall’s execution at 11:47 pm Thursday. Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor dissented from the decision. Hall is the eighth federal death row inmate to be executed since President Donald Trump resumed federal executions this summer after a 17-year hiatus.

Hall was one of five men convicted in the 1994 abduction and subsequent death of 16-year-old Lisa Rene in Arlington, Texas. The men abducted and sexually assaulted Rene, eventually bludgeoning her with a shovel and burying her alive.

One of the other men involved, Bruce Carneil Webster, had his death sentence vacated in June based on evidence that Webster was diagnosed with an intellectual disability prior to sentencing. The three other men, including Hall’s brother, all received lesser sentences in exchange for cooperation.

Hall, a Black man, was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death in 1996. His lawyers sought a stay of execution last week, claiming the government used their peremptory challenges to strike jurors due to their race, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, they alleged the government “used peremptory strikes to strike four of five qualified Black jurors from Mr. Hall’s jury (while knowing the defense was sure to strike the fifth Black venire member due to her emphatically pro-death penalty views).”

The Trump administration is currently attempting to carry out two more executions before the January transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden.