Texas to review prayer, touch requests in executions by case
Texas prison officials say they don’t plan to formally update their rules after last week’s Supreme Court ruling that indicated states must accommodate the requests of death row inmates who want to have their spiritual advisers pray aloud and touch them during their executions But the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Tuesday that such requests by inmates will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and unless they present a substantial security risk or are “outrageous,” they would work...
Colorado man accused of killing wife heads to trial
A judge ruled Friday there is enough evidence for the case to proceed against a southern Colorado man who was charged with first-degree murder nearly a year after his wife was reported missing on Mother’s Day 2020. Judge Patrick Murphy ruled Barry Morphew, 53, should stand trial for the presumed death of Suzanne Morphew, a 49-year-old mother of two daughters who was reported missing after she did not return from a bike ride near her home in the Salida area. The judge set cash bail at $500,000, and restricted Morphew from traveling outside of Chaffee County and having contact with several people involved in the case.news.yahoo.com
Oklahoma attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn landmark ruling on tribal sovereignty
Oklahoma's attorney general asked the Supreme Court on Friday to overturn its 2020 ruling affirming tribal sovereignty, arguing the decision led to a "criminal-justice crisis."Why it matters: The petition comes one day after Patrick Murphy, an Oklahoma death row inmate whose challenge led to the ruling, was convicted again in federal court for murder and kidnapping, AP reports.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeNewly appointed Oklanews.yahoo.com
Arrest warrant stays sealed for Colorado man in wife's death
An arrest warrant affidavit for a Colorado man charged with murder in the death of his wife who disappeared last year will remain sealed, a judge ruled Friday, saying that release of the document could harm the couple's daughters and witnesses in the case and hinder Barry Morphew's ability to prepare his own defense. Chaffee County District Court Judge Patrick Murphy ordered that the affidavit, which details investigators' reasons justifying Morphew's arrest in the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew, remain sealed until the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in August. A coalition of news media organizations, including The Associated Press, had petitioned the court for release of the 130-page document, arguing in part that the public has a presumptive right to know what led to Morphew's May 5 arrest.news.yahoo.com
Religion and the death penalty collide at the Supreme Court
The order from the high court follows two years in which inmates saw some rare success in bringing challenges based on the issue of chaplains in the death chamber. This time, liberal and conservative members of the court normally in disagreement over death penalty issues found common ground not on the death penalty itself but on the issue of religious freedom and how the death penalty is carried out. Dunham said most state execution protocols, which set who is present in the death chamber, do not mention spiritual advisers. For most of the modern history of the U.S. death penalty since the 1970s, spiritual advisers have not been present in execution chambers, he said. The Biden administration is still weighing how it will proceed in death penalty cases.
High court orders continued look at Texas death row case
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen as sundown in Washington. The Supreme Court is telling a lower court to continue to consider a case brought by a Texas death row inmate protesting a policy that means a chaplain cant accompany him into the death chamber. That change came after the Supreme Court halted the execution of another inmate, Patrick Murphy, who requested a Buddhist adviser be allowed in the chamber. By changing the policy, Texas argued all inmates were being treated the same. Gutierrez is on death row for fatally stabbing an 85-year-old woman.
Judge stays ‘Texas 7’ gang member execution for 2nd time
A federal judge on Thursday stayed the execution of a “Texas 7” gang member who was convicted in the killing of a police officer because the state has refused to provide him with a Buddhist chaplain in the death chamber. The U.S. Supreme Court initially blocked Patrick Murphy’s execution in March, saying his religious rights would be violated if no Buddhist chaplain was present. The state had employed only Christian and Muslim chaplains and prohibited non-prison employees inside the death chamber for security reasons. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in April banned all clergy in death chambers and rescheduled Murphy’s execution for Nov. 13. But U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks stayed Murphy’s execution once again on Thursday, days before he was scheduled for lethal injection.