Texas prison officials officially announced on Tuesday after a Supreme Court ruling last week that the state had to respond to the demands of convict on death row prisoners who wanted to speak out to their spiritual advisers during the execution. He said he had no plans to update the rules.
However, the Texas Criminal Justice Department said such requests by prisoners would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and they would work to authorize them unless they present significant security risks or are “outrageous.” Stated.
However, convict on death row lawyer John Ramirez said the Supreme Court ruled last week, but left it on a case-by-case basis and did not outline certain rules. It doesn’t solve.
“By not changing the Protocol on what the minister can and cannot do, they are only inviting future federal judges to continue executions,” said Ramirez’s lawyer Seth Kletzer.
Ramirez is on death row for the 2004 robbery killing a worker at a convenience store in Corpus Christi. Ramirez stabbed the man Pablo Castro 29 times and robbed him of $ 1.25.
In an eight-to-one opinion issued last week, Chief Justice John Roberts touched the minister and prayed loudly during the execution, without increasing security risks or causing confusion, as Texas claimed. He wrote that it is possible to meet Ramirez’s request to have him. ..
Roberts “adopts clear rules in advance” about touching and praying inmates to avoid delays in executions and ensure “prisoners’ interest in religious movements.” Stated.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Criminal Justice Department said: If a spiritual adviser is selected and asked to pray or touch the prisoner, we will check each one on a case-by-case basis. “
When asked to clarify the statement, a spokesman for the authorities said the authorities would work to respond to and authorize the most rational demands.
“Unless it’s ridiculously ridiculous, we feel like we can. Talk one-on-one with a spiritual adviser and respond to them if they need to be touched and prayed.” Man said.
The High Court ruling was issued after the April 2021 Texas Prison System overturned a two-year ban on spiritual counselors in the Death Room, but limited what they could do. Texas says his religious freedom has been violated because his Buddhist spiritual adviser was not allowed to accompany him after the Supreme Court suspended the execution of Patrick Murphy in 2019. Insisted and enacted a ban. Murphy remains on death row.
Murphy’s proceedings ruled that the court refused to suspend executions in 2019 because of his request to have an Islamic spiritual adviser in the execution room of Alabama prisoner Dominek Ray. Issued after being criticized.
A spokesman for the Texas Prison Systems Agency said authorities believed that outlining specific rules for touching and praying would lead to more proceedings and delays in execution.
However, Cretzer said Texas prison officials did not fully consider the Supreme Court’s ruling by not outlining certain rules about what spiritual advisers could and could not do.
“Their remarks sound to me as they are humming, but they haven’t sung the song that Chief Justice Roberts gave them last week,” Kletzer said.
Cretzer pointed out the case of convict on death row Willy B. Smith III in Alabama. The case was executed in October after Rev. Smith reached an agreement with specific rules on what he could do in the death row cell. A spiritual adviser can be concrete.
“They were able to accomplish this,” Kretzer said.
Cretzer predicts that “we will return to where we were before the ruling last week: proceedings, stays” unless Texas makes specific rules about what a spiritual adviser can and cannot do in the death room. Did.
“We always want to be a little vague so that we can keep our enemies on our toes,” the Texas Criminal Justice Department said. “They always want you to keep guessing,” Kretzer said. rice field. “Unfortunately, lawyers, more specifically federal courts, don’t like guessing. They like the details.”