Supremes Halt Execution of Insane Inmate

Kennedy is swing vote against punishment for schizophrenic killer
By Greg Atwan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2007 2:29 PM CDT
Supremes Halt Execution of Insane Inmate
(FILES)The US Supreme Court is seen 12 June 2007 in Washington...   (Getty Images)

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to block the execution of a schizophrenic condemned killer because Texas criminal courts had not taken his mental health into account. Anthony Kennedy joined the court's liberals and wrote the decision, which reaffirmed previous injunctions against executing the insane; Kennedy wrote that the "punishment could serve no proper purpose."

Scott Panetti killed his in-laws in 1992, but had a history of mental illness, and called Jesus Christ and JFK to the stand in his defense. The conservative justices objected to his appeal on procedural grounds. In the last day of the court's term, Kennedy also swung to the right, lifting a 96-year-old ban on pricing floors and writing that collusion in prices didn't amount to a trust. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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