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USCA3 Lifts Delaware Stay

AP reports:

A federal appeals court has vacated a judge's order halting the execution of a Delaware ax murderer who had been scheduled to die later this month.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the stay of execution Thursday, saying U.S. District Court Judge Sue Robinson in Wilmington failed to explain why she put the execution of Robert Jackson III on hold, as federal court rules require.

Robinson issued her order last week after Jackson's attorneys asked her to reopen a lawsuit he filed several years ago challenging Delaware's lethal injection system because the state now wants to use a new drug.

Jackson's federal public defender said he does not believe the appeals court ruling will interfere with a hearing Robinson scheduled for Wednesday on their request to reopen the lawsuit.

Court records show that in 1992, 47-year-old Elizabeth Girardi was killed after encountering Jackson and accomplice Anthony Lachette as they left her Hockessin home with property they had stolen and planned to pawn to buy drugs.

Text of the order, by Judge Rendell, follows the jump:
The Court finds that it has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1292(a)(1). The orders of the District Court staying the execution of Robert W. Jackson, III are hereby summarily vacated and the matter is remanded. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d) provides that "every order granting an injunction and every restraining order shall set forth the reasons for its issuance." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 65(d). See also E.E.O.C. v. Severn Trent Serv., Inc., 358 F.3d 438, 442 (7th Cir. 2004) (Posner, J.) ("An injunction so poorly buttressed by explanation flunks Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 65(d)."). The orders of the District Court granting a stay of execution are unexplained. We cannot determine whether the District Court's stay is a proper exercise of discretion, see Rolo v. General Development Corp., 949 F.2d 695, 703 (3d Cir. 1991) (reviewing denial of preliminary injunction for abuse of discretion), without knowing the reasons why the stay was entered, and we decline to speculate about the basis for the court's decision. Should the District Court reinstate the stay, it must give its reasons for granting a stay of execution, see generally Republic of Philippines v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 949 F.2d 653, 658 (3d Cir. 1991) (setting forth traditional requirements for stay), and state when the stay is expected to expire. The motions for leave to file the response and the reply in excess of the page limitations are granted. Because we are vacating the stay of execution, the State's motion to vacate the injunction is dismissed as moot. The mandate shall issue forthwith.

"Flunks."  I like that.

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