A Louisiana man sentenced to death for the rape of an 8-year-old girl is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the sentence is unconstitutional for a non-homicide offense, as reported in this ABC News story by Dennis Powell. The high court refused to hear a similar challenge to the Louisiana law in 1997. Florida, Montana, Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma have also enacted laws allowing a death sentence for child rapists. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has this post with links to the petition and appendix.
Florida's Lethal Injection process did not cause murderer Angel Diaz to suffer pain according to a state judge who had halted another execution last July in order to conduct a review. This news story by Alex Leary and Meg Laughlin in the St. Petersburg Times reports that the execution of Diaz last December, which took 34 minutes, was not botched and that the state's procedures are sensitive and humane. Diaz was sentenced to death for murdering a bar manager during a 1979 robbery. In his ruling clearing the state injection process the judge said "It was never intended that the inmate should wake up and go home."
Poland followed through on its intention to veto the European day against the death penalty, reports Ian Traynor in the Guardian. An EU subcommittee chairman threatened Poland that its membership may be "frozen" if it even attempts to reinstate the death penalty.
NYDP: Coverage of the People v. Taylor argument is available from Joseph Goldstein of the Sun, the Daily News, Michael Hill of AP, and Nicholas Confessore of the Times. None of the observers are making a prediction from the argument. Several noted the remark of Chief Judge Judith Kaye regarding the prosecution's characterization of the prior holding in LaValle as "unnecessary, inappropriate, and incorrect." Those are "fighting words," she said. And what do you call spitting in the face of the Legislature's clear, express severability clause, Madam Chief Judge? CJLF's brief in the case is here.