Wednesday, March 12, 2003


From the NYTimes (reg. req.)....

By Minutes, Supreme Court Halts Execution in Texas

....The Supreme Court blocked the execution today of Delma Banks Jr. a short time before he was to have been put to death in Texas for killing a teenager 23 years ago.

A spokesman said this evening that the court had agreed to stay the execution pending a decision on whether to review the case. Defense lawyers have asserted that jury selection was unfair, that the defendant had ineffective representation at his trial and that prosecutors relied on shaky testimony.

The Supreme Court decision was announced only minutes before Mr. Banks was to have been given a lethal injection at 6 p.m. Central time.

....Mr. Banks, now 44, was convicted of shooting a teenager to death after an all-night drinking session in a park on April 11, 1980, and fleeing in the victim's car. An ex-convict who was an acquaintance of Mr. Banks told investigators that Mr. Banks had admitted killing someone and taking the victim's car.

....Mr. Banks is black, and the victim was white. Statistics have established that that mix of murder defendant and victim is highly likely to produce a death sentence. Mr. Banks's supporters have contended that prosecutors blocked eligible blacks from the jury pool, and that he had ineffective counsel at his trial.

Will Keith Clay be the unlucky 300? Tune in March 20th.