Texas’s Court of Criminal Appeals issued rulings on Monday that rejected challenges from five death row inmates to lethal injections there, which also rely on the three-chemical cocktail. Karl Chamberlain, who raped and murdered a 30-year-old woman in 1991, is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday.
The last execution before the de facto moratorium happened in Texas, and it was the subject of controversy. The presiding judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Sharon Keller, closed the courthouse at its regular time of 5 p.m. and turned back an attempt from a death row inmate to file appeal papers a few minutes later. The inmate, Michael Richard, was executed that evening.
Opponents of the death penalty in Texas said they had hoped the criticism that followed that episode would inform the court’s decisions on the recent lethal injection challenges.
“Those of us who thought the court was taking a thoughtful and rigorous look at this were wrong,” said David R. Dow of the Texas Defender Service. “I don’t think the court has shown the interest in really developing a coherent body of law, but instead reacts from one decision to the next like a pinball.”
Mr. Chamberlain, scheduled to die on Wednesday, would be the 406th prisoner to be executed in Texas since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
“Texas is still Texas,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes the death penalty. “They are the ones with the most dates coming up, and by the year’s end, I’m quite confident they will lead the country in executions.”
In Austin or from out of state: (512) 463-1782
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Karl Chamberlain June 11
TDCJ Info on Karl Chamberlain
Austin – At the Governor’s Mansion on the Lavaca St. side between 10th and 11th St. from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.