Friday, 19 January 2007

Workman execution date set

Workman execution date set

The Tennessee Supreme Court set a May 9 execution date for Philip Workman in an order released Thursday, marking the third time the state has scheduled his lethal injection.

Workman has been on death row since 1982 for the slaying of Memphis Police Lt. Ronald Oliver after a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in 1981.
While admitting that he shot at police during the holdup, Workman contends that another officer fired the bullet that killed Oliver. He also argues that a trial witness lied when testifying he saw the shooting.
A federal appeal pending before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questions whether the state withheld evidence that would prove that Workman did not kill Oliver.

Workman has seen numerous stays and twice been within hours of execution when courts stepped in to spare his life.

Justice recuses himself

Tennessee's newest Supreme Court justice has recused himself from a case that will decide how to fill the disputed final vacancy on the panel.
"My own nomination and eventual appointment as an associate justice is a part of the history of this litigation," Justice Gary R. Wade wrote in the recusal order, filed Thursday.

In a separate order, also filed Thursday, the court appointed retired Justice E. Riley Anderson to replace Wade when the case is heard on Feb. 1
Two vacancies on the five-member Supreme Court were created by this year's retirements of Anderson and Justice Adolpho A. Birch Jr., the court's only black member.

Bredesen appointed Wade to fill one of the openings in June. At issue is who is eligible to fill the last vacancy.

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