Today the United States Supreme Court stayed the execution of Florida inmate Mark Schwab, further indicating that it will not permit executions to proceed until it addresses the constitutionality of lethal injection in the case of Baze v. Rees.
The U.S. Supreme Court was forced to grant a stay in Mr. Schwab’s case because both the Florida Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had refused to do so.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court granted review in Baze on September 25, 2007, no inmate in the country who filed a lethal injection challenge has been executed.
Despite what appears to be a nationwide halt on executions while Baze is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, last month the Alabama Supreme Court nevertheless scheduled the executions of Tommy Arthur for December 6, 2007, and of James Callahan for January 31, 2008.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s issuance of a stay to Schwab today increases the likelihood that the State of Alabama will not be allowed to proceed with these two executions until Baze is decided.