Texas death row inmate granted last minute reprieve by US Supreme Court after chaplain barred from execution chamber
Texas Department of Corrections
A death row inmate from Texas was granted a last-minute reparation by the US Supreme Court after new government policies prevented clergymen from entering the execution chambers.
The order of the country's highest court came about an hour before 42-year-old Ruben Gutierrez was to be executed by lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville on Tuesday.
Guiterrez was convicted of fatal stabbing at Escolastica Harrison in 1998 when, according to prosecutors, he tried to steal the $ 600,000 that she had hidden in her Brownsville home.
Texas prohibited all chaplains of any religion from entering an execution chamber in April 2019 after the Supreme Court allowed the execution of a man on death row who was refused a request to have his Buddhist spiritual adviser with him.
Guiterrez's lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court and Texas Governor Greg Abbott for a 30-day reparation for the inmate's inability to have a clergyman with him at his last moments. The inmate has also long argued that DNA evidence could prove his innocence from his convicted crime.
"As a devout Catholic, Mr. Gutierrez's faith requires the support of clerics to move from life to the afterlife," said his lawyer Shawn Nolan. “The Texas Department of Justice has changed its policy for its own reasons, but mental comfort at the time of death is not a convenience. it is a protected legal right. "
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the new directive did not significantly affect an inmate's ability to interact with clergy prior to execution.
The new directive allows clergymen to visit inmates on their execution date until they are taken to the death chamber. The clergy may also watch from the witness room.
Kim Kardashian West
TO UPDATE!!!! Thank you to the United States Supreme Court for granting a stay of execution to Ruben Gutierrez! Now his case will go back to the lower courts to resolve the issues with his case!
1:30 a.m. - June 17, 2020
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Kim Kardashian West, who has used her platform in recent years to campaign for prison reform, welcomed the Supreme Court decision on Tuesday.
"Thank you to the United States Supreme Court for granting a stay of execution to Ruben Gutierrez! Now his case is being returned to the lower courts to resolve the issues with his case, ”she wrote.
Gutierrez and his lawyers are looking for DNA tests for the victim's nail scratches and loose hair, as well as a family member's shirt and other clothing. The man said that while he helped organize the robbery, he was not involved in the woman's murder and the DNA tests would prove his innocence.
Mr. Gutierrez's case is also very worrying as the DNA evidence in his case needs urgent testing. Mr. Gutierrez has been trying such tests for years to prove that he did not commit the crime for which he was sentenced to death. The state has carried out such tests at every turn, but the public interest would certainly be best served by allowing DNA tests while the Court is examining Mr. Gutierrez's case to prevent illegal execution in the future, "said his lawyer.
It is unknown whether this DNA test would be approved before its new execution date.
Texas, the most heavily trafficked state in the United States, has stopped all executions due to the coronavirus pandemic in the past four months.
Gutierrez's execution was the last to be postponed or postponed.
Cameron's district attorney, Luis Saenz, said in a statement that the Supreme Court decision "again denied justice". He added that the temporary stay only "delayed [Gutierrez] 's ultimate fate".
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