Supreme Court Stays Two Executions

Both men were to receive controversial new drug
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 5, 2011 5:35 PM CDT
In this March 16 file photo, Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster talks on a phone at the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice outside Livingston, Texas.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Two death-row inmates have received last-minute reprieves from the Supreme Court, each of whom argued they had lousy lawyers at their trials. In separate rulings, the court put on hold the executions of Daniel Cook in Arizona and Cleve Foster in Texas while their cases are reviewed, reports CNN. Both men were to be executed with a controversial new drug cocktail using the animal anesthetic pentobarbital, though the court did not mention the drug in its decisions.

Regardless, the delay will allow more time to consider the matter, says one of Foster's attorneys. "We are certainly relieved that they will not be rushing to execute Mr. Foster given the many issues surrounding Texas' new lethal injection protocol," he tells AFP. The rulings also might signal that the high court is interested in the issue of inadequate legal representation, notes the Wall Street Journal.

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