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ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER PAUL LABATTE OF THE U.S. ANTI-DEATH PENALTY JOURNAL

[THREAD] My quick and dirty analysis: The ruling lifting the stay of execution on Smith's claim under the Americans With Disabilities Act shows the Court's continuing disapproval of prisoner challenges to the method of execution or designating a method of execution. ...
The fact that Smith's challenge to the designation of the execution method was related to his intellectual disability — which should have precluded his execution altogether — didn't matter. To date, no prisoner has succeeded on any of those challenges. ...
The splintered vote leaving the 11th Circuit's injunction in place on Smith's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act reflects the Court's continuing division on issues involving the presence of spiritual advisors in the execution chamber ....
There are two different issues here: (1) whether states may permit a chaplain in the execution chamber but require that it be a person and/or a faith of the state's choosing ....
and (2) whether a state MUST allow a prisoner to be ministered to by a religious advisor in the execution chamber at all. ...
One presents an issue of state discrimination based on a prisoner's religion. The other presents a question of whether the state is discriminating against the exercise of religion itself. The latter was implicated in this case. ...
Whether SCOTUS believes that the constitution requires a state to allow a prisoner to have his religious advisor minister to him at the time of execution remains unclear. ...
What is clear is that the state will be permitted to carry out an execution if it chooses to respect the prisoner's human dignity by allowing his or her spiritual advisor to be present in the execution chamber to provide religious comfort at the time of the execution. ...
The bottom line is, had #Alabama respected #WillieSmith's dignity as a human being, it would have been able to carry out the execution tonight. It chose not to, and this is the result.

 


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