Appeals court agrees to delay executions while inmates appeal to Supreme Court

Appeals court agrees to delay executions while inmates appeal to Supreme Court
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A federal appeals court agreed to pause its ruling upholding the Trump administration's new federal execution protocols while a group of death row inmates appeals to the Supreme Court.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that it would issue a stay onĀ its ruling, preventing it from going into effect until June 8.

Lawyers for a group of four federal inmates slated for execution had asked for the extension after a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel ruled 2-1 to uphold the new death sentence protocols.

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The death row prisoners' legal team had argued that it was important to resolve the legal questions before resuming federal executions for the first time since 2003.

"The outcome of this case will dictate whether the Government may employ this Protocol in executing the more than sixty prisoners under federal sentences of death, including several whose execution dates were announced at the same time as the new Protocol itself," the lawyers wrote in their motion.

The inmates argue that the new protocols, which implement a uniform, nationwide lethal injection procedure, violate death sentencing laws requiring the federal government to abide by each state's execution regulations.

The Supreme Court will soon have to consider whether to hear the case after blocking the administration's efforts to resume executions in December while the legal challenge played out at the circuit court.