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By Associated Press
DALLAS – Texas Prisons Are No Longer Permitted The Death Chamber after the US Supreme Court blocked the scheduled execution of a man claiming his religious freedom would be violated if his Buddhist spiritual counselor could not accompany him.
As of now, the Texas Criminal Justice Department only allows a jail security guard to enter the death chamber, a spokesman said Wednesday. The policy change was made in response to the Supreme Court ruling that continued the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the "Texas 7" group of escaped prisoners.
Texas previously allowed state-employed clergy to escort inmates to the execution chamber, but the prison staff included only Christian and Muslim clerics.
In light of this policy, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Texas could not advance Murphy's punishment unless his Buddhist adviser or another Buddhist supporter of the state's election accompanied him. 19659007] "The government should not discriminate against religion in general or certain religious denominations," Brett Kavanaugh, the court's most recent judiciary, said in a concurring statement.
Murphy's attorneys told the Supreme Court that the 57-year-old was executed without execution. His spiritual adviser in the room violated his First Amendment rights to religious freedom. He became a Buddhist nearly a decade ago when he was imprisoned.
One of these lawyers, David Dow, said the change in policy does not contradict their whole argument and confuses the main message of the court's ruling.
At least for now, the hostile response to all religions shows the need for strict judicial control of the execution protocol, "said Dow
Kristin Houlé, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, calling the new policy cruel and unusual" and urged the department to reconsider it.
Prison chaplains will continue to watch executions from a witness room and have previously met with death row inmates, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel. He declined to comment on the reasons for the change in policy.