Update Jan. 31 at 3:55PST: The Supreme Court has granted a stay pending filing and disposition of a certiorari petition. AP story is here. SCOTUSblog post here.
The Eleventh Circuit vacated a stay of execution granted on an injection claim in McNair v. Allen. The court found that the § 1983 claim was barred by the statute of limitations. There are two plaintiffs in the case. The one with an imminent execution date (tomorrow) is James Callahan.
The full details of Callahan’s crime are set forth in Callahan v. Campbell, 427 F.3d 897, 903-10 (11th Cir. 2005). In short, on February 3, 1982, Callahan abducted 26-year-old Rebecca Suzanne Howell from a laundromat in Jacksonville, Alabama. He murdered her, then dumped her body in a creek, where it was discovered two weeks later.
Footnote 1: Although Callahan was not charged with rape, forensic evidence suggested Howell was sexually assaulted prior to her death.
The decision is correct based on pre-Baze precedent on a ground not at issue in Baze. There would seem to be no reason for the Supreme Court to grant a stay. However, after the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Baze, which does not involve a default issue, it did grant stays in other cases involving defaulted claims. At this point, the justices probably know what their decision is going to be in Baze, and it will be interesting to see if they grant a stay in this case. If I had to bet, I'd put my money on a grant. AP story is here. Lyle Denniston has this post at SCOTUSblog, and Doug Berman has this one at SL&P.
Next door, the inmates in the Florida injection cases, Ian Lightbourne and Mark Schwab, have asked Justice Thomas for an extra two months to file their cert. petitions here and here. Extension requests are typically decided by the circuit justice (unlike stays of execution, which the circuit justice almost always refers to the full court), so it matters that Florida is in Thomas Country.