As we wait for a decision from Judge Michael Manners on the fate of the Reggie Clemons case (which should come by the end of the month, although the decision originally had a June 1 deadline. Judge Manners is supposed to take a new position in Lexington in August, so he needs to make a decision any day now.), we have some great death penalty news coming out of Georgia today. The Georgia Fulton County Superior Court granted Warren Hill a stay of execution. Below is a press release from Amnesty International concerning the stay.
Georgia Court Stays Hill’s Execution on Challenge to Secrecy of Lethal Drugs
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Brian Evans, director of Amnesty International USA’s Abolish the Death Penalty campaign, issued the following statement in response to the Georgia Fulton County Superior Court granting Warren Hill a stay of execution based on a challenge concerning the secrecy of the lethal drugs the state of Georgia acquired and planned to use in Hill’s execution:
“Warren Hill today was granted a stay of execution because of the secrecy surrounding the lethal drugs. Amnesty International welcomes this development and the chance for the courts to address these troubling questions of secrecy and medical ethics.
“Beyond these important issues, Warren Hill has been determined to be ‘mentally retarded’ and thus his execution would have been unconstitutional, as the U.S. Supreme Court banned such executions in 2002. His petition on this important question is scheduled to be considered at a conference on September 30.
“Warren Hill’s petition undoubtedly has merit. All seven doctors who have examined him now agree that he is in fact intellectually disabled, yet federal courts have declined to hear this evidence, citing procedural bars. It is to be hoped that the Supreme Court, after considering this case in September, will take the actions necessary to permanently prevent Warren Hill from being executed.”
According to Amnesty International’s most recent yearly report on the use of the death penalty worldwide, the overall worldwide trend is away from the use of the death penalty. Five U.S. states have legislated to abolish the death penalty in the past six years – New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), Illinois (2011), Connecticut (2012), and in May, Maryland.
Amnesty International continues its campaign to abolish the use of the death penalty in all 50 states in the United States and around the globe.
Although the stay is not based on the fact that Warren Hill is intellectually disabled, we welcome this news as it’s unconstitutional to execute a mentally impaired person. The U.S Supreme Court prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded in 2002. According to seven different medical professionals, Hill is considered “mentally retarded” and does meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in Georgia. Action is still needed to prevent his execution, as the County Court in Georgia can still rule that the execution is okay and ought to take place. Please take action today to ensure that Warren Hill isn’t faced with an unconstitutional execution!