Wednesday, January 30, 2008
From ap.com: A federal appeals court has lifted a stay of execution for James Harvey Callahan, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday, but it could be delayed again by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court on Jan. 7 heard oral arguments in a Kentucky challenge to lethal injection, a case that has delayed executions nationwide. A ruling is unlikely before spring. Alabama uses lethal injection in its executions.
In a 2-1 decision, the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday lifted the stay granted by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins in Montgomery on Dec. 14.
The court said Callahan waited too late to challenge the method of execution.
Callahan, who is now scheduled to die at 6 p.m. Thursday at Holman prison near Atmore, was sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Jacksonville State University student Rebecca Suzanne Howell on Feb. 4, 1982.
Authorities said she was abducted from a coin laundry in Jacksonville and raped before being strangled and dumped in Tallasseehatchee Creek.
In lifting the stay, the 11th Circuit ruling said it did not make any finding on "the relative merits of Callahan's constitutional claim because we conclude the claim is barred by the statue of limitations."
Judges Gerald Tjoflat and Susan Black, forming the majority, said the two-year time deadline began on July 31, 2002, when Callahan selected lethal injection as the method by which he would be put to death. They said he waited more than two years after the deadline expired to challenge lethal injection.