Va. Governor Reinstates Executions After Ruling
Wednesday, April 16, 2008; 3:09 PM
RICHMOND, April 16 -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said Wednesday that Virginia can proceed with executions now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of lethal injection in Kentucky.
But Kaine, who suspended the practice earlier this month while he awaited the court decision, said he will continue to decide on a case by case basis whether to grant stays in clemency requests.
"In light of the Supreme Court ruling, executions will move forward according to the procedures that were in place prior to the court's agreement to hear Baze last September," said Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey, referring to the Baze v. Rees case.
Executions in Virginia have been on hold since the Supreme Court decided to take up the Baze v. Rees case, which centered on challenges from two death row inmates in Kentucky who said that their Eighth Amendment rights would be violated if they were to die by lethal injection of the three-drug combination used by Kentucky and other states.
In October, the Supreme Court stopped the execution of Virginia inmate Christopher Scott Emmett, who beat a co-worker to death with a brass lamp in Danville in 2001, until it ruled on the case.
In response to the court's action on that and other planned executions in other states, Kaine on April 1 stayed the April 8 execution of Edward N. Bell, who killed a police officer in Winchester in 1999. Bell's execution date has been changed to July 24.
Kaine also announced April 1 that all future executions would be put on hold until the court ruled on Baze v. Rees.
The court's decision clears the way for several executions in Virginia, unless Kaine decides to intervene based on clemency requests.
Kevin Green, who killed a Southern Virginia convenience store owner in 1998, is scheduled to be executed May 27, according to the state attorney general's office.
Kaine, who personally opposes the death penalty, has allowed four executions to proceed but has delayed several others since he took office in 2006.
Virginia trails only Texas in the number of executions carried out since 1976.