On Wednesday night, Texas issued the state’s 10th lethal injection this year to Jonathan Green, despite his attorneys’ protests that he was mentally ill and incompetent for execution. The 44-year-old was convicted of murder in 2000.
Green’s lawyer reported he was hallucinating about “ongoing spiritual warfare between two sets of voices representing good and evil” and argued these hallucinations made him ineligible for the death penalty. Green underwent a psychiatric analysis and a competency hearing two years ago, which attorneys also contested was unfair.
Two years ago, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay just four hours before Green’s scheduled execution due to similar arguments that he was too delusional to be killed. This time, a district judge in Houston halted the execution just a few days before the scheduled execution, but the notoriously right-wing Fifth Circuit overturned the reprieve.
The Fifth Circuit has been dressed down by the U.S. Supreme Court several times for its severe and often questionable death penalty rulings. Outside of death penalty cases, the appeals court also recently suggested that constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures does not apply to undocumented immigrants, and held that a high school cheerleader was required to cheer for her alleged rapist — and pay her school’s legal fees. The court has also come under fire for its strong ties to the oil and energy industry. One judge, Priscilla Owen, received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Enron before writing an opinion that reduced Enron’s taxes by $15 million while on the Texas Supreme Court.