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Supreme Court rules in favour of Texas death row inmate in legal row

After the US Supreme Court sided in favor of a prisoner who was awaiting lethal injection, death row inmates should be allowed to have pastors pray aloud for them and touch them during executions.

Texas prisoner John Henry Ramirez had challenged the state rules that would have required his pastor to remain silent and separate from him when he is executed.

Chief Justice John Roberts stated that it was possible to accommodate Ramirez’s sincere religious beliefs without delaying his execution.

This decision follows executions in other US states and federal governments where audible prayers and physical contact were allowed in the execution chamber.


Roberts dismissed concerns that allowing a pastor touch an inmate would interfere with intravenous lines carrying the drugs that are used to execute an Inmate.

Texas allowed prison chaplains in Texas to pray in the execution chamber with inmates for several years before the current changes.

Texas must demonstrate a compelling reason for its policy under federal law protecting religious rights of prisoners. It also has to prove that it was the least necessary in order to achieve officials’ security goals.

Texas: More

Texas was not able to do so, according to the justices.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas, one of nine Supreme Court Justices, voted against.

Thomas stated that Ramirez had repeatedly tried to delay his execution, and that his current lawsuit is “just the latest iteration of an 18-year pattern in evasion”.

Ramirez is currently on death row after he robbed a Corpus Christi convenience shop worker in 2004.

Pablo Castro was stabbed 29 times, and he robbed him $1.25 (about PS1).

Seth Kretzer, Ramirez’s lawyer, said that he was thrilled about the decision in a telephone interview.

He stated that he expected Texas to revise its policy in light of the decision. However, he did not know how long it would take or what restrictions Texas might still want to impose.


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