Tennessee set for its first execution in nearly a decade




 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is set to execute a man for the 1985 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl, in what would be the first time the state has applied the death penalty since 2009.

Inmate Billy Ray Irick, 59, is scheduled to receive a three-drug injection Thursday evening at a maximum-security prison in Nashville. He was convicted in 1986 in the death of Paula Dyer, a Knoxville girl he was babysitting.

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to clear the way Thursday afternoon for the execution plans to proceed, denying Irick's request for a stay. But Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a blistering dissent, recounting details from a recent state court trial of a case brought by inmates contesting the execution drugs.

"In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the Court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the State of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody," Sotomayor wrote. "... If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism."

On Monday, the state Supreme Court also refused to block the execution, saying the lawsuit filed by inmates involving the execution drugs wasn't likely to succeed. That case is continuing in a state appeals court

In a ruling late last month, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle wrote that attorneys for 33 death row inmates, including Irick, didn't prove that there is a substantially less painful means to carry out the execution or that the drugs the state plans to use would cause the inmate to be tortured to death.

Tennessee plans to use midazolam as a sedative, the muscle-relaxer vecuronium bromide and then potassium chloride to stop the heart. At question is whether midazolam is actually effective in rendering someone unconscious and unable to feel pain from the other two drugs. Federal public defender Kelley Henry said at trial that inmates were tortured to death, feeling like they were suffocating, drowning, and utterly confused.

The state had been using pentobarbital, but manufacturers have largely stopped selling it for executions. Attorneys for the state have also said the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of midazolam in a three-drug series.

In Nevada, drug company Alvogen has sued to block use of midazolam in a stalled execution. Tennessee is one of 15 states siding with the state of Nevada against the company, though Tennessee is planning to use a version of the drug that is compounded, not directly purchased from a manufacturer.

Faith leaders and death penalty opponents led a protest rally Tuesday against Tennessee's plans to put Irick to death. And last week, Pope Francis revealed new Catholic church teaching that deems the death penalty "inadmissible" under all circumstances.

Prior to the pope's emboldened stance against the death penalty, three Catholic bishops in Tennessee wrote Gov. Bill Haslam, telling him that "the death penalty contributes to the growing disrespect for human life."

Haslam declined Monday to intervene.

COMMENTS

More Related News

NRA, gun rights groups using New York City rules to seek expansion of Second Amendment in Supreme Court
NRA, gun rights groups using New York City rules to seek expansion of Second Amendment in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has refused for nearly a decade to jump back into the gun rights debate, declining at least eight opportunities in recent years.

Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law
Mississippi judge who blocked 15-week abortion ban hears arguments on fetal heartbeat law

Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law which bans abortions after approximately six weeks could be blocked or upheld by Judge Carlton Reeves.

Hundreds gather at U.S. Supreme Court to protest state abortion bans as step backward
Hundreds gather at U.S. Supreme Court to protest state abortion bans as step backward

Many of the restrictions are intended to draw legal challenges, which religious conservatives hope will lead the nation's top court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. "We are not going to allow them to move our country backward," U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the two dozen Democrats running for president, told the crowd through a megaphone. The rally is one of scores scheduled for Tuesday around the country by the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and other abortion rights group.

U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases
U.S. Supreme Court takes no action in Indiana abortion cases

Neither Indiana case was on the list of appeals on which the court acted on Monday morning. If the nine-justice court takes up either case, it would give the conservative majority an opportunity to chip away at the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and recognized a right under the U.S. Constitution for women to terminate pregnancies. One of the Indiana laws requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated and bans abortions performed because of fetal disability or the sex or race of the fetus.

U.S. Supreme Court sides with Native American elk hunter
U.S. Supreme Court sides with Native American elk hunter
  • US
  • 2019-05-20 16:03:28Z

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Native American elk hunter, citing an 1868 treaty between his tribe and the U.S. government as it revived his legal challenge to a conviction for hunting out of season in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. It found that the treaty, which gave tribe members hunting rights on "unoccupied" lands, is still in force even though it was signed before Wyoming became a U.S. state in 1890. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has a record of backing tribal rights, sided with the court's four liberals, with the other four conservative justices in dissent.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.