For the third time in two months, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday stopped an execution, this time just 15 minutes before Mississippi was about put to death Earl Wesley Berry for the murder of a woman 20 years ago. Berry had already eaten his "last" meal.
The constitutionality of lethal injections is in the forefront, as courts have stayed executions in nine states in recent months.
A PBS analysis is HERE.
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, is the author of S.447 - the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act. He issued the following statement in response to the court's action this week:
“With the Supreme Court issuing yet another stay in a death penalty case this week, it appears likely that states will suspend executions at least temporarily. This de facto moratorium on executions by lethal injection gives us a chance to recognize just how deeply flawed the implementation of capital punishment in this country is.
"Indeed, the Supreme Court’s stay comes just one day after a call by the American Bar Association for a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment based on its detailed study of state death penalty systems, which found racial disparities, convictions based on bad evidence, grossly inadequate indigent defense systems, and a host of other problems with the implementation of capital punishment in this country.
"We should take advantage of this apparent pause in executions to consider the severe injustices within the system as a whole.”
ON ANOTHER MATTER, Feingold joined Senators Susan Collins, R-ME, Edward Kennedy, D-MA, and Norm Coleman, R-MN, in calling for an increase in the amount of money given to students who qualify for Pell Grants, need-based student financial aid.
The four wrote Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle, and conferees to the FY 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations conference committee requesting that they include funding for the highest possible maximum Pell grant award. The letters are HERE and HERE.