Texas inmate Cleve Foster was set to be executed Tuesday evening. That is, until the nation's highest court halted his execution.
The Supreme Court's stay of execution came down just hours before Foster was set to die. It was also the second time this week the court issued a stay of execution to a Texas death row inmate.
Foster, 47, is a former Army recruiter who was sent to death row for allegedly raping and murdering a woman he met at a Texas bar in 2002.
Foster maintains that one of his Army recruits, Sheldon Ward, was the one who committed the murder. He claims that the sex he had with the victim, Nyaneur Pal, was consensual. Ward was convicted of the same crime and died last year from cancer while in prison.
The Supreme Court issued the stay because it wanted more time to consider Foster's writ of certiorari, according to the AP.
A writ of certiorari is an official petition to the Supreme Court that asks the court to hear a case. The court will then either grant or deny the request.
The stay of execution has only been extended until the court decides whether or not to grant Foster's petition to hear his case. If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, the execution will likely be carried forward.
This isn't the first time Foster's execution has been delayed by the Supreme Court. His execution date has already been postponed twice this year, the AP reports.
Both times his execution was delayed for similar reasons. The first time, the court wanted more time to review his case. The second time, the court stayed the execution after Foster's attorneys sought a rehearing on several legal issues.
Will Cleve Foster be executed? It depends on the outcome of his writ to the Supreme Court and if his appeals are successful. Just because the Supreme Court halted his execution temporarily does not mean the death sentence won't be carried out. Unless his conviction is overturned or his sentence is commuted, Foster will likely remain on death row.
- Supreme Court grants stay of execution in Texas case (Reuters)
- How does the U.S. Supreme Court decide whether to hear a case? (FindLaw)
- Stay Denied in Teresa Lewis Execution (FindLaw Blotter)
- Troy Davis Clemency Denied: What is Clemency? (FindLaw blotter)