A Texas prosecutor has called for the execution date to be revoked for a death row prisoner who successfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to allow his religious adviser to put hands on him during his lethal injection, reported UPI.
John Ramirez, 37, was scheduled earlier this week to
be executed Oct. 5 for the 2004 murder of Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi,
Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez asked
for the execution date to be withdrawn in a court filing. He said his assistant
district attorney requested the execution date without his knowledge.
In the motion, Gonzalez said he "has the firm
belief that the death penalty is unethical and should not be imposed on Mr.
Ramirez or any other person while" he is in office. He said the assistant
district attorney was unaware of his opinion on the issue.
Seth Kretzer, Ramirez's attorney, said Gonzalez made
the "correct legal judgment" not to proceed with his client's
"This is welcome news on the eve of Good
Friday, Easter and Passover informs my belief that the litigation of Mr.
Ramirez's case this last year has touched some small part of America's
soul," Kretzer said in a statement to UPI.
"I look forward to Judge [Bobby] Galvan's order
withdrawing the death warrant, which was signed only two days ago. Otherwise,
will immediately file a mandamus with the Court of Criminal Appeals in
Gonzalez's request comes less than a month after the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ramirez's favor on a religious liberty issue.
It said the state likely violated Ramirez's rights when it denied his request
to have his pastor in the execution chamber, touching him and praying over him
during his execution.
In 2019, the TDCJ banned chaplains from entering the state's execution
chambers when the Supreme Court stayed an execution after Texas
declined to allow an inmate to have a Buddhist spiritual adviser with him
during the lethal injection.
The state lifted the ban in April 2021, revising its policy to
allow death row prisoners to designate a corrections chaplain or other
spiritual adviser of their choosing to be present inside the death chamber, but
no touching or praying.
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