HOUSTON, Sept. 28 — A day after the United States Supreme Court halted an execution in Texas at the last minute, Texas officials made clear on Friday that they would nonetheless proceed with more executions in coming months, including one next week.
Though several other states are halting lethal injections until it is clear whether they are constitutional, Texas is taking a different course, risking a confrontation with the court.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to stay convicted murderer Carlton Turner’s execution will not necessarily result in an abrupt halt to Texas executions,” said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas. “State and federal courts will continue to address each scheduled execution on a case-by-case basis.”
Shortly before midnight on Thursday, the Supreme Court stayed the execution of Mr. Turner, who had been scheduled to become the 26th Texas inmate executed this year by lethal injection in Huntsville.
Although the court gave no reason for its order, Mr. Turner, convicted of murdering his adoptive parents in 1998, had appealed to the court after it agreed Tuesday to consider the constitutionality of lethal injection, the most commonly used method of execution in the United States.
Several legal experts said the Supreme Court reprieve would be seen by most states as a signal to halt all executions until the court determined, probably some time next year, whether the current chemical formulation used for lethal injections amounts to cruel and unusual punishment barred by the Eighth Amendment.
Eleven states had halted executions for that reason. On Thursday, Alabama stayed an execution for 45 days to come up with a new formula.
“There is a momentum quality to this,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who has a blog, Sentencing Law and Policy. “Not only the Supreme Court granting the stay, but also the Alabama governor doing a reprieve that is likely to lead to other states with executions on the horizon waiting to see what the Supreme Court does. I’ll be surprised if many, and arguably if any states other than Texas, go through with executions this year.”
On his blog on Friday, Professor Berman predicted that there would be few if any executions in the country for the next 9 to 18 months, while the court deliberates and, later, as lower courts parse the meaning of its eventual ruling.
Texas, which has a history of confrontations with the Supreme Court over its prerogatives in criminal justice, does not appear interested in waiting. That forces lawyers for condemned prisoners to appeal each case as high as the Supreme Court.