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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

13 Oklahoma death row inmates now eligible for execution

Oklahoma's death chamber
Oklahoma's death chamber
WASHINGTON — James Chandler Ryder, convicted of killing a woman and her son over some personal belongings in 1999, is now the 13th Oklahoma death row inmate who has exhausted appeals and is eligible for an execution date.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined, without comment, to review Ryder's appeal. It was the fifth time since the high court's new term began in October that justices have rejected the final appeal in an Oklahoma capital case.

In such instances, the Oklahoma attorney general typically moves quickly to request an execution date from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

But problems with lethal injections in Oklahoma have led to a pause in executions while the state Department of Corrections reviews the process.

The last execution in Oklahoma was in January 2015. And executions won't resume immediately after the Corrections Department decides it is ready. 

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has said he would wait at least 150 days after the review is complete before requesting execution dates.

Earlier this month, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question that gives state constitutional protection to the death penalty — and death sentences already handed down — even if a particular execution method is ruled to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled against a method and has twice upheld lethal injection protocols, including Oklahoma's in 2015.

Ryder, who is now 54, was convicted of killing Daisy Hallum and her adult son, Sam Hallum, in Pittsburg County in a dispute over possessions Ryder had been storing with them. Ryder received the death penalty for killing Daisy Hallum and life without parole for killing Sam Hallum.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the death sentence in January.

Source: NewsOK, Chris Casteel, November 30, 2016

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