Thursday, August 21, 2008

Federal Judge Issues Stay for Jeff Wood

From the Houston Chronicle:

HUNTSVILLE — A federal judge today granted a request to delay the execution of condemned inmate Jeffery Wood, who was set for execution this evening for taking part in the robbery and murder of a convenience store clerk in the Texas Hill Country.

The judge granted a request by Wood's attorneys to delay his execution so they could hire a mental health expert to pursue their arguments that he is incompetent to be executed.
In Austin, we will still gather at the Texas Capitol on the sidewalk facing Congress at 11th Street today at 5:30 PM.

Federal judge Orlando Garcia stayed the execution, finding that Texas violated Wood's constitutional rights by refusing to provide Wood with a lawyer to help him argue that he is too mentally incompetent to be executed.

"With all due respect, a system that requires an insane person to first make 'a substantial showing' of his own lack of mental capacity without the assistance of counsel or a mental health expert, in order to obtain such assistance is, by definition, an insane system," Garcia wrote.

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