Friday, February 08, 2019

Supreme Court Vacates Execution Stay of Muslim Inmate Who Wanted Imam At His Side

By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday vacated the the stay of execution that had been granted the day before by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to a Muslim inmate who wanted to have his Imam present in the execution chamber when he was executed by lethal injection. (See prior posting.) In Dunn v. Ray, (US Sup. Ct., Feb. 7, 2019), the majority said it was granting the state's application because the inmate had waited until ten days before his Feb. 7 execution date to seek relief.  Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor dissented, saying in part:
Here, Ray has put forward a powerful claim that his religious rights will be violated at the moment the State puts him to death. The Eleventh Circuit wanted to hear that claim in full. Instead, this Court short-circuits that ordinary process—and itself rejects the claim with little briefing and no argument—just so the State can meet its preferred execution date.
Pro Publica has a lengthy report on Domineque Ray and his murder trial.