The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a stay of execution for John Battaglia, who was scheduled to be put to death next week on December 7. The court is reviewing a recent decision by a state district judge deeming Battaglia mentally competent to be executed. No more executions are scheduled to take place in 2016; Texas will end the year with the fewest executions in two decades.
In this edition of our monthly alert, you’ll find information about the last execution scheduled to take place in Texas this year, as well as announcements related to the TCADP 2017 Annual Conference and coverage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing about intellectual disabilities in a Texas death penalty case.
Important decisions in two North Texas death penalty-related cases were announced last Friday: A State District Judge in Dallas determined that John Battaglia is mentally competent to be executed, while a Tarrant County jury imposed a new death sentence for the first time in more than two years.
A Brazos County judge recently deemed that Marcus Druery is incompetent to be executed due to evidence of his severe mental illness, which prevents him from understanding why he is being punished. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Druery a stay just days before his scheduled execution on August 1, 2012 and later ordered a competency hearing.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will consider the case of Scott Panetti, who faced execution last year by the State of Texas despite his long, documented history of severe mental illness. Panetti holds a fixed delusional belief that the State seeks to execute him to prevent him from preaching the gospel.