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Justices decline to postpone Texas execution

This article was updated on May 19 at 8:35 p.m.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to block the execution of Quintin Jones, a Texas man who was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of his great-aunt, Berthena Bryant. Shortly after the court’s unsigned order allowing the execution to go forward, Jones was put to death by lethal injection at a state prison in Texas, according to news reports.

Jones had asked the justices to stay his execution to give them time to consider two claims on the merits. First, he contended that the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Moore v. Texas, holding that the use of outdated medical standards to determine whether someone is intellectually disabled and therefore cannot be executed, applied retroactively to his conviction. Second, he argued that his death sentence should be invalidated because prosecutors relied on testimony from a psychiatrist that has since been discredited.

Texas urged the Supreme Court to allow the execution – scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT – to proceed, telling the justices that they didn’t need to decide in this case whether Moore applies retroactively because the state court ruled that Jones could not show that he was intellectually disabled. Nor, Texas argued, could Jones show that “the State knowingly presented false testimony through an expert whose methods may have been discredited at some time after trial.”

In a brief order on Wednesday evening, the justices turned down Jones’ request to put his execution on hold and take up his appeals. There were no publicly recorded dissents from the court’s order.

This article was originally published at Howe on the Court.

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Justices decline to postpone Texas execution, SCOTUSblog (May. 19, 2021, 7:58 PM),