Thursday, November 19, 2009

Texas Federal Judge Grants Eleventh Hour Stay Of Execution Of Gerald Eldridge

United States District Court Judge Judge Lee Rosenthal granted an eleventh hour repreive to Texas death row inmate Gerald Eldridge.  Judge Rosenthal stayed the execution for at least 90 days and stated:
The issue now before this court is not whether Eldridge is, or is not, mentally ill or whether he is, or is not, competent to be executed in compliance with the Constitution. The only issue now before this court is whether, based on the record presented, the prisoner has made a 'substantial threshold showing of insanity.' Id. If such a showing is made, the execution must be delayed to permit a “fair hearing” to determine competency to be executed. A fair hearing requires an opportunity to submit evidence and arguments from the prisoner’s counsel, including expert psychiatric evidence to respond to the State’s own psychiatric examination. Id. at 952. The record before this court shows that Eldridge has made that substantial threshold showing. Under the case law, this court must therefore stay his execution to determine whether his condition allows his execution.
The caselaw the court was citing to is Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986) and Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930, 948 (2007).  You can see articles here, herehere,  and here.  You can view Judge Rosenthal's ten page stay order below:
Eldridge v. Thaler

You can also see an unpublished decision from the Fifth Circuit in Eldridge v. Quarterman that was released on April 28, 2009 here


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