The courts may have called a temporary halt to executions, but the wheels of death penalty justice continue to turn in Texas.
On Wednesday, a Tyler district judge set a Nov. 6 execution date for Allen Bridgers, a high school dropout who fatally shot a Tyler woman in the throat before stealing her car in 1997.
The U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have blocked two Texas executions in the past week. The delays were ordered while the U.S. Supreme Court reviews claims that lethal injections — a three-drug combination that sedates, paralyzes and kills — may subject inmates to intense pain but leave them unable to cry out.
"It's baffling, because it doesn't make any sense to schedule an execution date based on what the U.S. Supreme Court and Texas court have done in the last week," said Andrea Keilen, executive director of the Texas Defender Service, which represents Bridgers.
"It just creates completely unnecessary litigation" challenging Bridgers' execution, Keilen said.
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.
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