Seth Udinski, FISM News
The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues in American politics, even within distinct political factions. News broke from Texas last week involving a man doomed for death row and his last request for his pastor.
37-year-old inmate John Ramirez was sentenced to death after murdering another man in a parking lot in Corpus Christi in 2004. He also committed robbery and resisted police arrest for more than three years. While in prison, Ramirez has sat under the pastoral ministry of Rev. Dr. Dana Moore of Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi.
Facing death row, Ramirez asked for his pastor to be with him in the execution chamber and lay hands on him as he died. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice denied his request, saying this could endanger the integrity of the execution process. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked the denial and postponed the execution until both sides can plead their case in a hearing on November 1.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton pled with the high court to allow the execution to proceed as planned by the Texas DOJ. He said,
The courts below properly recognized that prisons have a compelling interest in maintaining an orderly, safe, and effective process when carrying out an irrevocable, and emotionally charged, procedure.
Meanwhile, Ramirez’s representatives argue that the inmate is still legally protected to exercise his First Amendment rights, even on death row. His lawyer, attorney Seth Kretzer, said,
(I) welcome this fight in the Supreme Court in the weeks ahead. The greatness of the First Amendment is that (it) applies in the halls of power – and also in the hell of an execution chamber…the State of Texas knows their policy is not Constitutional.