Texas man executed after Supreme Court denies appeal News
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Texas man executed after Supreme Court denies appeal

The State of Texas Wednesday executed Wesley Ruiz after the US Supreme Court denied Ruiz’s petition to for a stay. Ruiz, convicted of fatally shooting a Texas police officer, filed an application with the court on Tuesday to stay his execution and consider his petition for a writ of certiorari. The court denied both the application for stay of execution and Ruiz’s petition for writ of certiorari. 

In his petition to the court, Ruiz alleged issues of racial bias amongst the jurors who sentenced him to death. Ruiz provided an affidavit from the jury foreman describing Ruiz as an “animal” and a “mad dog.” The foreman also stated that Hispanic individuals in the audience were “gang members” that scared the jury. According to Ruiz’s petition, the foreman managed to persuade an unsure juror into the death penalty by saying Ruiz could be dangerous. Another juror stated that racial integration had changed her neighborhood. The same juror’s sister had been victimized by a man the juror thought to be Hispanic and involved in the “smuggling” of undocumented people. 

Ruiz was executed utilizing lethal injection, a method which he had challenged in state court. Ruiz filed a lawsuit in December, claiming that the state was utilizing expired and unlawfully obtained pentobarbital in lethal injections. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice denied that the drugs were expired. The state’s Attorney General filed a writ of prohibition to prevent the case from being heard. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) granted the writ of prohibition in early January. 

Ruiz’s execution comes only days after another Texas death row prisoner, Terence Andrus, took his own life, after multiple appeals to the Supreme Court. In 2020, the court found in Andrus’s favor, remanding the case to the TCCA. However, the TCCA reaffirmed their earlier decision.