Court declines to halt execution of Alabama man whose jury voted in opposition to loss of life penalty


In a quick order with no recorded dissents, the Supreme Court refused to dam the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, a 57-year-old inmate who’s scheduled to die by deadly injection at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday in Alabama. Smith was convicted for the 1988 homicide of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, whom he was employed to kill by her husband, Rev. Charles Sennett.

By a vote of 11 to 1, the jury in Smith’s 1996 capital trial really useful that he be sentenced to life imprisonment with out the potential for parole. The trial decide overrode that call, nevertheless, and sentenced him to loss of life. Alabama was the final state in the USA to allow judicial override in capital instances. It outlawed the observe in 2017, however not retroactively. Smith argued that his execution, greenlit by a observe that’s now not permitted wherever within the nation, would violate the Eighth Modification’s prohibition of merciless and weird punishments.

Dismissing Smith’s attraction as “extraordinary gamesmanship” to delay loss of life, Alabama urged the justices to permit the execution to maneuver ahead. Smith’s “straight-to-the-top collateral assault on his sentence” violates state procedural guidelines, the state argued, and the Alabama Supreme Court correctly denied his declare. Furthermore, Alabama contended that the prohibition of judicial override was not proof of a societal shift in values, as Smith argued, however fairly an impact of judicial choices rendered up to now twenty years.

Smith replied that his petition was procedurally correct, as solely the Alabama Supreme Court is allowed to set execution dates. Emphasizing that the abolition of judicial override in the USA displays adjustments in nationwide values, Smith reiterated his perception that the execution would represent merciless and weird punishment.

Smith was the third individual going through imminent execution whose request for emergency reduction was rejected by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Earlier within the day, the justices turned down ultimate appeals from Stephen Barbee and Murray Hooper.