Death Penalty on Hold

November 1, 2007

US supreme court calls a halt to executions

Death penalty campaigners yesterday said they expected the informal moratorium to last at least until next summer when the supreme court is expected to issue its ruling.The moratorium follows a decision by the supreme court on Tuesday night to block the execution of a Mississippi inmate minutes before he was to be put to death. Earl Wesley Berry, who has been on death row for 19 years for the murder of a woman, had been served his last supper and was 15 minutes away from execution when the court intervened.

The order for a delay marked the third time in just over a month that the supreme court has overruled state courts and the US court of appeals to block an execution.

Death penalty campaigners yesterday called the successive rulings a powerful sign that the supreme court wanted to put executions on hold while it considers a challenge to the way executions are conducted in America brought on behalf of a prisoner in Kentucky.

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