Today a federal district court judge granted Jimmy Callahan’s request to stay his execution, which was scheduled to take place on January 31, 2008. The judge found that a stay was necessary to allow for a trial in Mr. Callahan’s lawsuit challenging the State’s lethal injection protocol. The judge further found that “there was a substantial likelihood” that Mr. Callahan’s challenge would be successful.
In September, the United States Supreme Court decided to review the constitutionality of lethal injection in the case of Baze v. Reese. Since then, no inmate in the country who filed a lethal injection challenge has been executed. Despite what appears to be a nationwide halt on executions until Baze is decided, the State nevertheless scheduled the execution of Mr. Callahan and of Tommy Arthur. The setting of these executions was criticized by newspapers across the state.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court granted Mr. Arthur a stay. Now that a federal judge has granted Mr. Callahan a stay, there are no longer any executions in Alabama currently scheduled.