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Sotomayor’s first vote on death penalty

The newest Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, on Monday night cast her first vote in a death penalty case, joining three other members of the Supreme Court in dissent as the Court permitted the execution Tuesday of an Ohio inmate, Jason Getsy, 33.   He was scheduled to die in Lucasville, Ohio, at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The Supreme Court’s order is here.  Sotomayor would have granted a stay of execution, along with Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens.  Sotomayor’s predecessor, retired Justice David H. Souter, frequently voted to postpone executions.

In the Court’s order, the Justices also denied Getsy’s petition for review, in Getsy v. Strickland (09-5935).  There was no indication of dissent from the denial of review of the case itself.

The Ohio Parole Board, by a voe of 5-2, recommended to Gov. Ted Strickland that he commute Getsy’s death sentence to life in prison. The governor, however, refused, saying that the evidence of Getsy’s crime was too strong to warrant clemency.  Getsy was sentenced to death for the 1995 murder of a Hubbard, Ohio, woman, Ann Sarafino. He also was convicted of the attempted murder of her son Charles.