Death Penalty

For the Second Time in a Week, the Supreme Court Stays an Execution

The U.S. Supreme Court granted two stays of execution involving Texas cases this week, the most recent one involving an Army recruiter convicted of raping and murdering a woman he met at a Fort Worth bar.

The court stayed the execution of Cleve Foster to allow time to consider whether to grant certiorari, report the Los Angeles Times, Reuters and the Associated Press. It was the third stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Foster’s case. The stay was granted a few hours before Foster’s scheduled execution on Tuesday.

Foster maintains he is innocent and the crime was committed by a companion who died while on death row for the same crime. Foster’s Supreme Court appeal involved claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Defense lawyers argue Foster had a constitutional guarantee for a competent lawyer when he first raised claims in a state appeals court through a lawyer provided by the state, the AP story says.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in June in a case that argued an inmate raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial level had the right to effective assistance at his first appellate opportunity to raise the claim. The ABA has filed an amicus brief supporting the inmate’s argument in that case, Martinez v. Ryan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of execution earlier this week in the case of Duane Edward Buck, who argues his sentence was tainted by expert testimony that he was more likely to reoffend because he is black.

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