The Guardian reports that, for the second time in seven months, convicted murderer Warren Lee Hill, Jr. received a stay of execution in Georgia. In July, the stay came with some 90 minutes to spare. Tonight, reports indicate that only thirty minutes remained before the scheduled execution.
The Huffington Post states they have received the following from Brian Kammer, an attorney for Hill:
“We are greatly relieved that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the execution of Warren Hill, a person with mental retardation. All the doctors who have examined Mr. Hill are unanimous in their diagnosis of mental retardation, so there is no question that his execution would have been in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling in Atkins v. Virginia.”
A post on CNN further notes that
The Georgia Court of Appeals acted on an appeal of a challenge to the way the prison handles the lethal injection drugs used in executions, while the federal appeals court issued a stay “ordering a further briefing on the issue of mental retardation,” Kammer said.
It remains to see what will happen as the issues that provided the basis for the stays are explored.
I grieve for Myra Wright and Joseph Handspike who were killed by Warren Lee Hill, Jr., and for their family and friends. There is no defense for his crimes.
But … The Guardian lists ten reasons not to execute Hill.. One notes that the family of Joseph Handspike opposes the execution. One cites international law. The other reasons explore dimensions of the questions related on Hill’s mental capacity. I agree with them all.
I further believe that violence begets violence. Executions do not reverse horrible crimes. They serve little purpose beyond vengeance. We have alternatives to protecting our society.
See you along the Trail.
Reuters reports that, on Monday, a federal judge on Monday temporarily halted the scheduled execution of Edwin Hart Turner in Mississippi. The ruling will allow attorneys to argue whether the state has improperly kept Turner from getting a psychiatric evaluation. The state was to execute Turner tomorrow – February 8.
The argument is not that Turner is innocent. He was convicted of killing Eddie Brooks and Everett Curry in two separate incidents in Carroll County,
The argument hinges on Turner’s mental health and whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections had improperly prevented a psychiatric evaluation of Turner. The argument goes on to say that information related to his mental health had not been presented during the trial.
His attorney argues that Turner has a “long and extensive” history of mental illness. He shot himself with a rifle when he was 18. He survived but suffered disfiguring wounds to his face.
According to the ACLU:
Courts have established that inmates who are insane – so out of touch with reality that they do not know right from wrong and cannot understand their punishment or the purpose of it – cannot be executed (Ford v. Wainwright ). The Supreme Court has also held that a mentally retarded individual cannot be executed (Atkins v. Virginia).
The court order postpones the execution until at least February 20.
If you live in Mississippi, you can contact the governor and ask him to halt Edwin Hart Turner’s execution.
The Hon. Phil Bryant
Governor of Mississippi
If, like me, you live elsewhere, you can sign a petition to Mississippi officials.
Calling for a halt to this execution in no way condones Turner’s acts. It does not diminish the deaths of Eddie Brooks and Everett Curry. It does not minimize the grief of those who love them.
It does say that the state – any state – should not kill – particularly someone who is mentally ill.
See you along the Trail.