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Court won’t allow Alabama execution without a pastor


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Court won’t allow Alabama execution without a pastor

By Amy Howe on Feb 12, 2021 at 2:35 am

The court issued its ruling on Alabama's attempt to execute Willie Smith III at midnight on Thursday. (Katie Barlow)

The Supreme Court on Thursday night ruled that the execution of an Alabama man must remain on hold unless the state allows the man, Willie Smith III, to have his pastor by his side in the execution chamber. The justices rejected a request by the state to undo a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which had blocked the state from executing Smith.

The justices also lifted a stay of execution entered by the 11th Circuit in a separate proceeding, clearing the way for the state to execute Smith if it agrees to allow him to be accompanied by his pastor in the execution chamber. However, the Associated Press reported shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling that Alabama had called off Smith’s execution, which had been scheduled to take place under an execution warrant that designated Thursday as the execution date. The Supreme Court issued its ruling at around midnight eastern time – or about 11 p.m. central time, just one hour before the execution warrant expired.

Smith, 51, was sentenced to death for the 1991 robbery and shooting death of 22-year-old Sharma Johnson in Birmingham, Alabama.   :snip:  https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/02/court-wont-allow-alabama-execution-without-a-pastor/

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