Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Court rejects Martini's final bid to avoid execution

Court rejects Martini's final bid to avoid execution

Posted by The Star-Ledger February 20, 2007 3:06PM

Without comment, the Supreme Court of the United States today refused to hear death-row inmate John Martini's final appeal.

John Martini in 2001.
The ruling, however, will have no immediate effect. A moratorium on executions remains in place until March 3, and even when it expires, the state will be unable to perform a lethal injection because it has no valid procedures for carrying one out.

The old regulations were struck down by a state appeals court in February 2004. They have yet to be rewritten and there is no active attempt to do so. Writing new ones could take six months to a year.

In January, a special state commission recommended abolishing the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without parole. It was quickly endorsed by Gov. Jon Corzine, who opposes capital punishment.

Martini was condemned in 1991 for kidnapping and murdering Fair Lawn businessman Irving Flax after collecting $25,000 ransom. While on death row he was convicted of three other murders.

Contributed by Robert Schwaneberg

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