Carlton Turner's lawyers went to his trial court judge Thursday with a request to withdraw the execution order. When that failed, they went to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which voted 5-4 to refuse to stop the punishment. The case then went to U.S. Supreme Court. The execution, scheduled for after 6 p.m. CDT, was delayed while justices considered the case.
Turner's case was being watched as an indicator of whether executions in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state, could be halted until the high court rules on the Kentucky case sometime next year.
Another execution is scheduled for next week, one of at least three more set for this year in Texas.
On Tuesday, when the justices announced they would consider the issue, another Texas inmate was executed hours later, but attorneys for Turner suggested the short time period didn't allow them to prepare an adequate appeal for the convicted killer, Michael Richard. The justices, however, did consider the motion lawyer David Dow sent before turning it down, and Richard was executed after about a two-hour delay.
Dow, a University of Houston law professor, also was involved in the appeal to spare Turner, who would be the 27th Texas inmate executed this year.
Gov. Rick Perry could issue a one-time 30-day reprieve. He also has authority to commute death sentences to life on the recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board, however, earlier this week voted 7-0 to deny Turner's commutation request.
Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody said Perry's position on executions had not changed.
"The Supreme Court has not yet ruled or issued a decision on this Kentucky case that they've agreed to review," she said. "The governor continues to follow Texas law, so nothing has changed."
Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
We hope that you will join us in this fight for fairness and social justice.Please join our email list and become one of the more than 20,000 people receiving information through our network.