Da Reuters del 02/02/2006
Originale su http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=politicsNews&s...

Alito parts with conservatives on execution

di James Vicini

WASHINGTON - New U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with the court's conservatives and refused to allow Missouri to execute a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Kansas City teenager 17 years ago.

Alito sided with the majority in a 6-3 vote that rejected a last minute request to allow Missouri to carry out the execution of Michael Taylor, 39, by lethal injection at midnight, a court spokesman said on Thursday.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas voted to let the execution proceed.

The court's action was contained in a two-sentence order. The state's request was presented to Alito, who has responsibility for appeals from the U.S. appeals court based in Missouri, and he referred the request to the full court.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court had issued orders that would have allowed the execution to proceed.

Taylor pleaded guilty, along with an accomplice, to kidnapping, raping and murdering 15-year-old Ann Harrison in 1989. The men abducted the girl as she waited for a school bus in front of her home.

He has challenged his death sentence on the grounds that the three-drug cocktail of lethal chemicals used in executions carry the risk of undue suffering, violating the U.S. Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Alito was sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, becoming the second conservative, after Chief Justice John Roberts, put on the court by President George W. Bush.

Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative who had been the swing vote in a series of 5-4 decisions on social issues.

Alito has been expected to align himself with the court's conservative bloc, which could affect the outcome of votes on key social issues.

The way a justice votes on a stay request does not necessarily signal how the justice will rule on the merits of a death penalty case. The court earlier this week granted a similar stay of execution to another death row inmate from Florida.

Last month, the court said it would use the case of a Florida death-row inmate to decide whether last-minute challenges can be brought under the federal civil rights law to the drugs used in lethal injection.

The court appears to be holding cases that raise the same issue until it hears arguments and rules on the issue, which is expected by the end of June.

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