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Court allows Tennessee execution to go forward

Tonight the Supreme Court refused to block the execution of Tennessee inmate Nicholas Sutton, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST. Sutton was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the 1985 stabbing death of Carl Estep, an inmate at the prison where Sutton was serving a life sentence for the murder of his grandmother. Sutton had asked the justices to put his execution on hold so that they could consider whether one of the aggravating circumstances on which the jury relied to sentence him to death was unconstitutional; Sutton argued that the language of the aggravating circumstance was “materially identical” to a federal law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2015 because it was too vague. There were no recorded dissents.

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Court allows Tennessee execution to go forward, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 20, 2020, 7:58 PM),