December 4, 2021

Supreme Court takes case regarding Texas law blocking prayer and human touch during executions

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday regarding whether Texas should allow a pastor to pray out loud and touch a prisoner during an execution.

Death penalty executions in Texas have been temporarily suspended as the court determines the outcomes of the case. The court will determine which religious accommodations are required for death row inmates.

The particular case involves John Henry Ramirez, an inmate on death row over killing a store worker during a 2004 robbery.

His lawyers filed a lawsuit after the state would not allow a chaplain to pray and touch him when he received lethal injection.

Justice Clarence Thomas questioned whether the case was largely an effort to delay the execution, an approach taken by the state of Texas.

Justice Kagan noted that other death row prisoners have had spiritual leaders present but did not require a case to determine acceptable involvement as the case in Texas has.

The Texas case offers a look at an interesting matter concerning the end of life for a convicted killer, seeking to determine what rights such an individual has even during the final moments of life.

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