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Napoleon Beazley Receives Stay

Aired August 15, 2001 - 16:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: First up, we want to talk about that emergency stay of execution for Napoleon Beazley, a very controversial execution scheduled in Texas for later tonight. Joining us from our Washington Bureau now is CNN's Kelli Arena, who is our justice correspondent -- Kelli. KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Joie. As you said, the court of criminal appeals in Texas has issued an emergency stay for Napoleon Beazley. The arguments that were entered into court for consideration include the fact that Beazley's lawyers argue that Beazley was given incompetent counsel during his appeals process, that the court relied on testimony that Beazley's lawyers say was false, that a juror was biased on the basis of race, and that it is cruel and unusual punishment to execute someone under 18 at the time of the crime.

As you know, Napoleon Beazley was just 17 years old when he committed murder killing John Luttig, the father of J. Michael Luttig, a very prominent federal judge. The court did not pass judgment on those arguments. All it did was issue a stay today. It has not scheduled any further action. What they said was that we grant the application's request for a stay of execution. We take no action on the application. The applicant is granted a stay pending further orders by this court.

There's nothing scheduled at this time. We do not know if they will schedule an appeals hearing. For now at least, Napoleon Beazley is granted more time. He was supposed to be executed at 7:00 p.m. this evening in Huntsville, Texas by lethal injection. The case, as you know, Joie, has caused much controversy both nationally and internationally, most notably because he was 17 at the time of the murder, but also because of his, the victim's son had so much influence in Washington.

Three Supreme Court judges had recused themselves based on personal relationships with him. It is a long and entangled story, but the bottom line, he does get to live at least for a few more days -- Joie.

CHEN: So, Kelli, they have not scheduled another date for anything in terms of scheduling a delay. They don't schedule an extra month or anything.

ARENA: Nothing, nothing. All they say is, he won't be put to death tonight, pending further court action, but no information on what that court action might be or when we will see any court action, it could be days, this could be months, Joie.

CHEN: CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena with us from Washington. Thank you very much.

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