Execution Made Easy

The Supreme Court restricts access to appeals for death row inmates

THE NATION'S HIGHEST COURT SHOWED LITTLE SYMpathy last week for Jose Tamayo- Reyes, a Cuban refugee accused of a barroom murder in Oregon. Tamayo-Reyes, who speaks little English, pleaded no contest in 1984 to manslaughter, but he later argued that a bad Spanish translation caused him to misunderstand what he was doing. After his lawyer erred by neglecting to present these crucial facts to an Oregon state appeals court, Tamayo-Reyes sought help from the federal court system, which has long heard legal appeals from state prisoners through a process known as a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

But last week,...

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