Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has halted all executions in the state until the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a decision in Baze v. Rees, which considers whether the three-drug “cocktail” used for lethal injections constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Kaine announced the statewide halt as he announced the stay of execution of Edward N. Bell, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1999 and sentenced to death.
If Kaine had not stayed Bell’s execution, it is unlikely that he would have faced the death chamber before a decision in the Supreme Court case is reached. The Court has delayed every scheduled execution in the country since the granting cert in Baze last fall. A decision is expected before the end of the term.