Court declines to halt execution of Texas man who said state withheld information about key witness


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The justices declined to block the execution of Robert Fratta, whose lethal injection in Texas was scheduled for Tuesday evening.

Fratta was sentenced to die for the 1994 murder-for-hire of his estranged wife, Farah. He was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1997. A federal court threw out that conviction, but in 2009 he was convicted and sentenced to death for a second time.

After a series of unsuccessful challenges to his conviction and sentence, Fratta came to the Supreme Court last year, asking the justices to put his execution on hold and take up his appeal. The justices denied two of his petitions for review as part of the regular order list that they issued on Monday. Later that morning, the court turned down two of Fratta’s emergency requests to put his execution on hold.

Fratta filed a third petition for review, accompanied by an additional request to block his execution, last week. In those appeals, Fratta’s legal team argued that the state failed to disclose the fact that a key witness had been hypnotized to refresh her memory.

The justices denied those appeals on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before the execution was scheduled to begin.

There were no public dissents from any of the orders denying review.

This article was originally published at Howe on the Court.

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