Law: Deadline Death

An eleventh-hour court O.K.

One by one, the Justices were reached by court operators setting up an extraordinary conference call of the U.S. Supreme Court. Only Sandra Day O'Connor, who was traveling in Africa, was not available for the hurriedly arranged session. The Justices had been asked, at the very last hour, to decide whether to allow the execution later that night of Frank J. Coppola, 38, a convicted murderer who wished to die. After discussing the case, Chief Justice Warren Burger and four others voted to overturn a stay that had been issued by an appeals judge earlier in the day....

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