The Non-Finality of the Death Penalty in the Supreme Court

This week, a 17-year hiatus on federal executions ended with the executions of Daniel Lewis Lee on Tuesday and Wesley Purkey Thursday morning. Both cases involved decades-old crimes and inmates who had long exhausted channels to review their convictions, but that did not prevent a series of last-minute filings to try to halt the imposition of the death penalty. In both cases, the executions proceeded only after the Supreme Court vacated stays of execution by a 5–4 vote, with the members of the liberal bloc issuing dissenting opinions …

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