In a pair of opinions written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court on Monday kept alive the appeals of death row inmates in Florida and Tennessee, adding new fuel to the debate over the death penalty.
In the Florida case, Hill v. McDonough, the Court ruled unanimously that inmate Clarence Hill is entitled to challenge the state’s lethal injection method as a Section 1983 federal civil rights action, rather than being limited to the more restricted habeas corpus route. But the Court, citing the interest of the state and crime victims in “timely enforcement of a sentence,” cautioned that its ruling should not be read to encourage automatic stays or long delays in executions.
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