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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Karl Chamberlain still has Texas execution date Feb. 21, 2008

Dave Maass, who used to work for the San Antonio Current and now is at the Santa Fe Reporter, has an article on Karl Chamberlain in this week's edition of the SFR. Chamberlain is the only person in Texas who currently has a scheduled execution date. All the other scheduled executions in Texas have been stayed pending a decision in the Baze case.

Across the country, death-row inmates have filed for, and uniformly received, stays of execution as the US Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the three-chemical lethal injection method employed in 37 states. Yet, no lawyer has so far filed for a stay for Chamberlain.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office tells SFR via e-mail that it will withdraw the execution date if the Supreme Court doesn’t rule before Feb. 21. However, the prosecutor’s promise contravenes Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has indicated publicly that the state will not halt executions while the Supreme Court deliberates.

Meanwhile, criminal defense attorneys David Schulman and John Jasuta are fighting to reopen Chamberlain’s case. Schulman tells SFR they expect the Supreme Court to return a ruling on lethal injection as early as March, but more likely June. A stay would give Chamberlain at least another six months more to appeal.

To vacate the execution date, the Dallas prosecutor needs to make a single phone call, one that Schulman says would take only slightly longer than it would to administer the lethal injection.
Maass also conducted a video interview with Mu'ina Arthur, the mother of Karl Chamberlain.

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