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Stay denied by the Supreme Court in Lambert v. Indiana. No dissent is noted. Debbie Knox of WISH-TV had this story earlier today. Update: "Molly Winters felt a sense of justice as she walked out of the Indiana State Prison early today after learning the man who fatally shot her police officer husband more than 16 years ago had been executed," Tom Coyne reports for AP.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a 5-4 ruling yesterday, reversed Irving Alvin Davis’ death sentence, but upheld his capital murder conviction, reports Michael Graczyk with the AP. In 2001, Davis raped and strangled 15-year-old Melissa Medina on the night of June 3, 2001 in Anthony, Texas. Davis admitted to having consensual sex with Medina, and during that time, she told him she would “cry rape” if he continued. Davis said he “lost it,” and strangled her, then cut off her fingertips with gardening clippers in an attempt to rid his DNA because she had scratched him. In Davis’ appeal, he stated that the judge “improperly ruled in favor of prosecutors,” who opposed testimony from acquaintances who wanted to voice their opinion. The majority agreed with the appellant. The dissenters believed that the excluded evidence had very little probative value.

South Dakota has a new lethal injection protocol, according to this AP story. Last year, the Legislature amended the statute to remove the two specifically named chemicals and let the Department of Corrections specify the details, as they do in most states. The new procedures issued by DoC follow the usual three-drug prescription. The execution of "volunteer" Elijah Page, previously set for last August, is now scheduled for July 9.

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The TCCA seems to be losing its nerve. However, I think that under the FRE approach, opinion testimony would be ok under Rule 405(a), and specific instances testimony would be ok under Rule 405(b). I am not sure that conclusory opinions would be a permissible lay opinion, although it may.

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