US Supreme Court stays prisoner execution over non secular adviser

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Texas officers’ refusal to permit pastor to the touch, pray over John Ramirez throughout execution violates rights, lawyer says.

A prisoner in Texas has been granted a last-minute keep of execution by the United States Supreme Court, after asking that his pastor be allowed to carry him as he’s put to dying by deadly injection.

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John Ramirez, 37, was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday night for stabbing a comfort retailer clerk to dying throughout a 2004 theft, however his lawyer petitioned the supreme court docket to halt execution on the grounds that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) wouldn’t permit Baptist pastor Dana Moore to the touch Ramirez as he’s being executed or to wish aloud within the execution chamber.

“The application for stay of execution of sentence of death … is granted,” the Supreme Court’s ruling mentioned on Tuesday.

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It gave no rationalization, a apply that’s widespread in emergency rulings.

In his petition, Seth Kretzer, Ramirez’ lawyer, mentioned Texas authorities had been requiring Moore “to stand in his little corner of the room like a potted plant” throughout the execution, which he argued infringes upon Ramirez’s constitutional rights to spiritual apply.

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He added that if Moore prays out loud he dangers being “ejected from the execution chamber by guards and referred for prosecution”.

While Texas jail authorities permit a non secular adviser to be within the room throughout an execution, they should be quiet and are usually not allowed to the touch a prisoner.

“Ramirez will be executed without the spiritual adviser guaranteed to him under the Constitution,” Kretzer mentioned.

The conservative super-majority US Supreme Court not often intervenes to halt executions, but it surely has carried out so in current instances the place prisoners have argued they’re being denied entry to non secular advisers.

Clarify spiritual rights

The court docket might take the chance of Ramirez’ case to make clear its place on the spiritual rights of these sentenced to dying, after a ruling in February successfully barred states from prohibiting non secular advisers until a decrease court docket dominated it could create critical safety dangers.

In 2018, the court docket rejected the request for a keep of execution for a Muslim prisoner in Alabama who requested for an imam to be by his aspect throughout his execution.

A number of weeks later, following a public outcry, a keep was granted to an inmate who needed a Buddhist non secular adviser to accompany him to the execution chamber in Texas.

The Supreme Court mentioned it could revisit Ramirez’ case in October or November.

There have been 5 folks executed within the US this yr.


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