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Stay Denied to Florida Mass Murderer


The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay to Florida mass murderer John Errol Ferguson.  The Miami Herald had this story yesterday on the Florida Supreme Court's denial of relief and described Ferguson's crimes:

Ferguson was convicted of the July 1977 murders of six Carol City residents during a home-invasion robbery. At the time, it was the worst mass murder in Miami-Dade history.

Ferguson, now 64, also was convicted separately of murdering two teenagers, Belinda Worley, a 17-year-old Hialeah High School senior, and Brian Glenfeldt, 17, in January 1978.

The two teens had gone out for ice cream, and Ferguson pretended to be a police officer when he stopped them. He shot Glenfeldt to death and raped and murdered Worley, and stole her class ring.

The Florida Supreme Court's corrected opinion of October 8 denying Ferguson's third state collateral review petition is here.  Among the claims denied is the notorious Lackey claim that it is unconstitutional to carry out a judgment that the defendant has succeeded in delaying so long.  Justice Breyer and retired Justice Stevens have been favorably disposed to that claim in the past, but the Court has never accepted it.

The Florida Supreme Court's affirmance yesterday of the trial court's finding that Ferguson is sane enough to be executed is here.  The state high court found that Panetti v. Quarterman does not require reconsideration of its standard for competency in Provenzano v. State, which is based on Justice Powell's concurring opinion in Ford v. Wainwright.

Justice Breyer dissents and would grant the stay.  From the docket, it appears that this petition challenges the first Florida Supreme Court decision above.  I suspect that the Lackey claim is the basis of Justice Breyer's dissent, though there is no opinion explaining the basis.  Chief Justice Roberts is recused.

Readmore here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/17/3054528_florida-high-court-upholds-decision.html#storylink=cpy

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