The Montana Supreme Court upheld a stay of execution issued in response to our lawsuit challenging lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment.The Court upheld the stay on Dec. 14 after Judge John Larson set a Jan. 31, 2011 execution date for Ron Smith. Larson's action was taken just two days after Judge Jeffrey Sherlock orderd a stay of execution on Nov. 1, 2010 in response to our suit, Smith v. Ferriter, filed on behalf of Smith in 2008.
Attorneys for both Smith and the State of Montana presented the motion for preliminary injunction to Sherlock, seeking to prevent Smith's execution until the civil case on lethal injection is completed.
In its decision, the Montana Supreme Court notes that Judge Larson set an execution date knowing that Judge Sherlock had already enjoined the Department of Corrections from executing Smith.
"Judge Sherlock had been exercising jurisdiction over the civil case for over two years before entertaining the Motion for Preliminary Injunction," the Supreme Court noted. "There is no question that he had authority to enter a preliminary injunction in that matter... to enjoin commission of an act that would produce irreparable harm to the applicant, Mr. Smith."
More information about the lethal injection case Smith v. Ferriter is available on our litigation docket.