Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Texas Death Row Inmate Receives Stay of Execution

The State of Texas was prepared yesterday to execute its first prisoner in nine months, but two last-minute appeals filed by the Texas Defender Service has provided an extension to the life of Derrick Juan Sonnier.

Sonnier was scheduled to die back in February, but Texas extended that date while waiting for a Supreme Court of Texas’s decision on the legality of lethal injection, which developed out of two Kentucky cases. Some groups in that state asserted the idea that the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution protected prisoners from lethal injection, as the practice employed cruel and unusual punishment. Once the method of execution was held up as acceptable by our land’s highest court in April, Sonnier’s walk to the death chamber was rescheduled for June 3.

The two appeals that were granted for review in Sonnier’s case are as follows:

  1. The state recently made changes to the injection protocol, and these changes have not been reviewed by any court.

  1. The current protocol violates the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

The time it will take to address these appeals has not been determined, so in the meantime Sonnier will once again wait to learn his fate.

Derrick Juan Sonnier was found guilty of stabbing a young mother and her son to death in 1991. Despite the incriminating factors of a wounded hand and bloody clothes in his apartment, Sonnier has maintained his innocence.

As I have written on this blog before, the death penalty is an issue that is steeped in emotion and it can claim strong arguments on both sides of the debate. It is imperative that we take every measure possible to insure that an innocent person never ends up on death row. But we also must be sensitive to the families of the victims who relive the tragedy each time a new appeal is filed.

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP understand that all participants in criminal cases have rights that deserve attention and respect. Give us the chance to work for you.

No comments: