The state of Louisiana is appealing a federal judge’s ruling on Thursday that halted next week’s scheduled execution of convicted child killer Christopher Sepulvado.
An appeal could be filed as soon as today in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay of execution imposed by U.S. District Judge James Brady of the Middle District of Louisiana. If successful, attorneys representing the state Department of Corrections will ask DeSoto District Judge Robert Burgess to issue another death warrant.
It’s unknown how long the appeal will take.
DeSoto District Attorney Richard Johnson said his office is filing a friend of the court brief to support the state’s efforts. While his office has been involved directly in other appeals related to Sepulvado’s case, it is not a part of the litigation that prompted the stay. That civil lawsuit initially was filed in the name of another death row inmate, Jessie Hoffman, with Sepulvado added as an intervener.
Brady stopped Wednesday’s execution two days after the state announced during a court hearing in Baton Rouge that the three-drug chemical previously used in executions has been replaced with a single drug, pentobarbital. DOC officials had never gone on record about the change in procedure because “we’ve never been asked other than what we thought was an improper records request,” said attorney Wade Shows, of the law firm of Shows, Cali & Walsh, LLP, which is representing the state.
The records request is part of a writ of mandamus filed by Sepulvado’s attorneys that is scheduled to be heard today by District Judge William Morvant in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Earlier coverage of the Louisiana lethal injection challenge and stay of execution begins at the link.