John Grant, Julius Jones executions temporarily stayed

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily granted John Marion Grant and Julius Jones stays of their pending executions today, stalling Oklahoma’s first attempt to carry out the death penalty in more than six years. Three other death-row inmates who were plaintiffs in the appeal did not receive stays of their executions.

Grant was set to be executed Thursday following U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot’s denial of a motion by Grant, Jones and three other inmates Monday afternoon. Jones had his clemency hearing postponed this week by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to allow pending appeals to be resolved.

Clemency hearings cannot be held without a set execution date. Grant’s clemency application was denied Oct. 5.

“The Tenth Circuit did the right thing by blocking Mr. Grant’s execution on Thursday,” Dale Baich, an attorney for the death row plaintiffs, said in a press release. “Today’s order should prevent the state from carrying out executions until the federal district court addresses the ‘credible expert criticism’ it identified in Oklahoma’s execution procedures. Those issues will be carefully reviewed by the court at the trial scheduled in February.”

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