Tuesday, September 19, 2006

 

A Beautiful Morning


Yes it is. The sky is blue, their were birds chirping at my window, and, even if I was up at 5:45 to do an hour long, call-in, talk radio show on WNOX Knoxville (man there are some angry people calling stations early in the morning) the fact that I had gotten to go to sleep at a reasonable hour and Tennessee didn't commit any homicides in the night made it all worthwhile.
As many of you probably already know, the U. S. Supreme Court refused to lift the stay issued by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last night. This decision didn't come as much of a surprise, but it did finally allow Daryl Holton to me moved off of death watch and back to his cell, ending any speculation that the execution might occur sometime today.

To clarify the events of yesterday, the Sixth Circuit issued a stay of execution and has ordered that briefings be presented by Holton's attorneys and the state regarding his mental competency. The court has also requested that Daryl Holton inform it as to whether he wants the line of appeals to continue. You can read all the orders and motions here. But for us, as abolitionists, the bottom line is that Daryl Holton will not be executed today.

What we should remember is that a man with clear and diagnosed mental illness came within 12 hours of being executed. Clearly our capital punishment system continues t fail to understand mental illness, and in fact to target people suffering from mental illness for execution. Daryl Holton is only the latest in a number of mentally ill men, including Greg Thompson and Paul Dennis Reid, who have been scheduled for execution this year. Though Holton is still alive, our capital punishment system lives also, though it is obviously broken. We need to act now before more people with mental illness are targeted for execution.
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