Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Texas Ruling Halts Executions Indefinitely

HOUSTON, Oct. 2 — Signaling an indefinite halt to executions in Texas, the state’s highest criminal appeals court late Tuesday stayed the lethal injection of a 28-year-old Honduran man who was scheduled to be put to death Wednesday.

The reprieve by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was granted a week after the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a form of lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment barred under the Eighth Amendment. On Thursday, the Supreme Court stepped in to halt a planned execution in Texas at the last minute, and though many legal experts interpreted that as a signal for all states to wait for a final ruling on lethal injection before any further executions, Texas officials said they planned to move ahead with more.

As a result, Tuesday’s ruling by the Texas court was seen as a sign that judges in the nation’s leading death penalty state were taking guidance from the Supreme Court and putting off imminent executions.

The Texas court order gave state authorities up to 30 days to explain in legal papers why the execution of the inmate, Heliberto Chi, should proceed. With responses then certain from defense lawyers, the effect of the order was to put off the execution for months, lawyers said.

Mr. Chi was convicted of killing the manager of a men’s store in Arlington in 2001.

Other executions, including four more scheduled in the next five months, were also likely to be stayed, said David R. Dow of the Texas Defender Service, a nonprofit law clinic that worked on Mr. Chi’s appeal.

“Until the Court of Criminal Appeals addresses the questions raised in this case there will be no more executions in Texas,” predicted Mr. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston.

Acting less than a week after it rejected another inmate’s appeal 5 to 4, the appeals court justices provided no breakdown of the vote and did not give any reasoning for their decision. But they directed the state’s director of criminal justice, Nathaniel Quarterman, not to execute Mr. Chi and gave Mr. Quarterman and Tim Curry, the district attorney of Tarrant County, where the crime had been committed, up to 30 days to respond to claims by Mr. Chi’s lawyers that the formulation and administration of chemicals used for lethal injections did not quickly and painlessly kill but paralyzed the condemned inmates while they painfully suffocated.


NY Times here

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