- May 8, 2021
Texas prisons have resumed allowing clergy as well as spiritual advisers in the death chamber, reversing a two-year ban created after the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of an inmate who had argued his religious freedom was being violated because his Buddhist spiritual adviser wasn’t allowed to accompany him, officials said Thursday.
The death penalty has been getting attention across the country this year with legislation introduced or voted on in several states aimed at limiting, repealing or even renewing capital punishment.
While standing outside the prison that housed Virginia’s execution chamber, Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state March 24.
The Supreme Court is sending a message to states that want to continue to carry out the death penalty: Inmates must be allowed to have a spiritual adviser by their side as they are executed.
A pastor, a condemned prisoner and their faith are at the center of a religious discrimination claim that triggered a late injunction from a federal appeals court on Wednesday.
An Alabama inmate on Thursday won a reprieve from a scheduled lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court said the state must allow his personal pastor in the death chamber.
Both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate have now passed bills that would abolish the death penalty in the state.
At some of the prayer vigils for an end of the death penalty in Virginia Jan. 22 — held in locations across the state, including sites where lynchings took place — the names of those killed were read aloud.