The updated AP report is, "Georgia high court grants stay of Monday execution," by Kate Brumback. It's via the Montgomery Advertiser.
The Georgia Supreme Court stayed Monday's scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing a fellow prison inmate, saying it would review a defense challenge based on the state's recent switch to a single-drug injection.
Warren Lee Hill had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. at the state penitentiary in Jackson. But the state high court said Monday afternoon it was unanimously staying the execution to consider Hill's appeal challenging Georgia's shift last week to a single-drug execution method.
The 52-year-old's case had drawn national attention as it put a spotlight on Georgia's toughest-in-the nation requirement for death row inmates who seek to prove they are mentally disabled. Hill's lawyers have argued he is mentally disabled and should be spared execution for that reason since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that executing the mentally disabled is cruel and unusual and Georgia law prohibits it.
The state has said Hill's defense lawyers failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill is mentally disabled, which is required under Georgia law.
The high court on Monday also denied Hill's request that it reconsider a challenge on those grounds.
Hill was the first Georgia inmate scheduled to be executed since the state announced last week it was changing from a three-drug combination to one lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital to carry out court-ordered death sentences. The state previously used pentobarbital to sedate inmates before injecting pancuronium bromide to paralyze them and then potassium chloride to stop their hearts. Hill's execution, initially scheduled for last Wednesday, was rescheduled for Monday when authorities announced the change in the execution procedure.
I am profoundly grateful that the Supreme Court entered this stay of execution," said Hill's lawyer, Brian Kammer, after learning of the court's decision to hear the appeal based on the execution method change.
At issue, the court said, was the question raised by the defense as to whether the switch to a single drug was subject to the state's Administrative Procedure Act, which requires public hearings before such a change is made. The high court's order did not specify how long its consideration of the issue would take.
The state attorney general's office had no comment on the court's decision to stay the execution.
Reuters posts, "Georgia inmate gets stay hours before scheduled execution," by David Beasley.
The court said it would decide whether the recent decision by the Department of Corrections, switching the lethal injection process from three drugs to one, violated the state's Administrative Procedures Act.
The act requires a 30-day public comment period before a change in procedure is allowed.
Georgia officials did not say what prompted the change to the single drug. But in a legal challenge filed on Friday, Hill's attorney, Brian Kammer, said Georgia's supply of pancuronium bromide - one of the three drugs previously used in lethal injections - expired on July 1.
"Court issues stay in Ga. execution," at UPI.
"US state grants death row inmate temporary reprieve," by Chantal Valery for AFP.
"Georgia Supreme Court Stays Execution," by Steve Eder at the Wall Street Journal Law blog.
The Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement last Tuesday that it “has been using pentobarbital in its execution process, and based upon the experience of other states and competent medical testimony, the drug has proven to be effective.”
A shortage in the supply of such drugs has impeded executions. Georgia said the drug supply was a consideration but that “responsible and professional” work was the main concern.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday that a county judge had expressed “frustration” that the state’s supreme court hadn’t decided the issue, and in a bench ruling, encouraged the top court to rule.
The state’s position is that the change was not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act and therefore did not require a 30-day public comment period prior to a switch in protocol, according to the AJC article.
"Georgia Supremes Grant Last-Minute Execution Stay, But Not Because of Inmate’s IQ," by Debra Cassens Weiss for ABA Journal.
The Georgia Supreme Court order in Hill v. Owens is available in Adobe .pdf format.
Earlier coverage of Warren Hill's case begins at the link.