crimcourts : A Criminal Law Blog

A federal appeals court in Atlanta has issued a last-minute stay of execution on John Ferguson, a man suffering from schizophrenia who killed 8 people.  The Supreme Court earlier this evening denied 3 emergency appeals, and he was being prepped for the execution when the order came down.  He had already eaten his last meal.  The State has filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court asking them to allow the execution to proceed.

This is the stuff of movies.  All death sentence cases have last-minute appeals, often in state and federal courts.  However, it’s highly unusual for them to be granted, especially at such a late hour, especially by a lower court after the Supremes Rule.

I haven’t been following the case that closely, though it has garnered some interest due to the fact that Mr. Ferguson has extreme mental health issues: Scott Greenfield calls him “Crazy John Ferguson”.  The AP has…

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