Monday, August 02, 2004

Saving Grandpa in 'Bama...

The highlights:

A 74-year-old convicted murderer who is within days of becoming the oldest U.S. prisoner executed in decades asked an appeals court Monday to block his execution, arguing he is too old and sick to be put to death.

Death penalty opponents, meanwhile, asked Gov. Bob Riley to have mercy on James Hubbard, set to die by lethal injection on Thursday for a 1977 killing.

Psychological and medical screenings showed Hubbard is suffering from dementia, hepatitis, diverticulitis, hypertension, acute back pain and is mildly retarded, according to papers filed by his lawyers with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Executing Hubbard would be cruel and unusual, they claim.

"We contend that he's basically too old," said Hubbard attorney Alan Rose of Boston.

The state is opposing any delay. It contends Hubbard is competent for execution.

Records from the Death Penalty Information Center show Hubbard would be the oldest U.S. prisoner put to death since executions resumed in 1977 with approval of the U.S. Supreme Court. In asking Riley to intervene, the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said Hubbard would be the oldest person executed in the United States since 1941.