C|M|LAW Professor Phyllis L. Crocker’s article Not to Decide is to Decide: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Thirty-Year Struggle with One Case About Competency to Waive Death Penalty Appeals, 49 Wayne L. Rev. 885 (2004), has been cited in a footnote in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ryan v. Valencia Gonzales, which was handed down on January 8th. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that state court defendants on death row have no federal statutory right to an indefinite stay of execution from a federal court if they are incompetent; the proceedings may continue with the attorney alone litigating the case. The Court observed, “At some point, the State must be allowed to defend its judgment of conviction.” Slip op. at 18. The Court also noted that the Gonzales “does not implicate the prohibition against carrying out a sentence of death upon a prisoner who is insane.” Id. at n. 18.
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