Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By CNA Daily News - US (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Supreme Court weighing Alabama ban on clergy at executions

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Washington D.C., Feb 11, 2021 / 02:15 pm (CNA).- The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the case of an Alabama death row inmate who has asked to have a Christian pastor present with him to pray in the final moments of his life.

Alabama inmate Willie Smith is scheduled to be executed February 11. Late on the night of February 10, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Alabama must allow Pastor Robert Paul Wiley, Jr. to be present in the execution chamber, reversing a lower court decision. Wiley has ministered to Smith for years during his time in prison. Alabama appealed to the Supreme Court to reverse the decision and allow the execution to move forward without the pastor present.

In 2019, the Alabama Department of Corrections banned clergy members from being present with people being executed by the state. The rule was put in place following a controversy in Texas in which some religions were allowed to have ministers at executions, but others were not. The Supreme Court told Texas it could not continue this practice of selectively choosing which faiths could have ministers present. Texas and Alabama then both implemented bans on all clergy during executions.

Smith, 51, has been convicted of abducting and murdering a woman 30 years ago. His case had been controversial, with disputes about whether he is intellectually disabled, which would prohibit him from receiving the death penalty. An expert for the defense said Smith’s IQ is 64, while an expert for the prosecutors said it is 72. An IQ below 70 is one of the standards used to diagnose an intellectual disability. 

The religious freedom law firm Becket filed an amicus brief in the case, supporting Smith’s request for Pastor Wiley to be present at his execution. 

“Allowing clergy to be present for condemned prisoners at the moment of death is an ancient and common practice, one that Alabama is familiar with,” said Beck Senior Counsel Diana Verm. “In fact, until 2019, Alabama not only allowed but required clergy in the death chamber. That shows Alabama is less concerned about security than it is about litigation tactics.”



Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.