The Supreme Court denied certiorari this morning in several capital cases it had been sitting on since the fall, when it took up the lethal injection case of Baze v. Rees. The cases include Taylor v. Crawford (Missouri), No. 07-303, Biros v. Strickland, No. 07-6243, and Cooey v. Strickland, No. 07-6234, both from Ohio, Berry v. Epps (Mississippi), No. 07-7348, and Arthur v. Allen (Alabama), No. 07-395. As previously noted here, the stay of execution previously granted in Berry terminates automatically upon the denial of certiorari. Ditto in Arthur.
The Court also denied certiorari in other capital cases that had not been held up, but were briefed and decided on a normal schedule, e.g., Bower v. Quarterman (Texas), No. 07-8315 and Nicklasson v. Roper (Missouri), No. 07-8434.
In two of today's denials, Justice Stevens chimes in with a reminder that denial of certiorari does not imply an opinion on the merits. See Velasquez v. Arizona, No. 07-8946 and Frasier v. Ohio, No. 07-9052. Curious that he chooses two direct appeals from state courts to make these statements, not any of the federal actions. I'm not sure what, if anything, is implied by that.
The Supreme Court-imposed moratorium is over. Now we will see how quickly justice can be resumed in the several states and whether Supreme Court intervention is necessary in certain circuits.
Mark Sherman reports here for AP.