Requests to delay execution rejected

December 03, 2005|BY A SUN REPORTER

Attorneys for Wesley Eugene Baker failed yesterday to persuade two courts to postpone Baker's execution by lethal injection, which could occur as early as Monday.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan rejected a request to halt the execution based on a claim that the protocol approved for the execution required further review, including public input.

Kaplan said that to halt the execution based on the arguments by Baker's attorneys would rewind more than a decade of court proceedings.

"It means 13 years of litigation in federal and state courts is meaningless if you could just stop this thing like hitting a brick wall," Kaplan said during the hearing.

Also yesterday, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied a separate request for a stay of execution based on a claim that Baker's lawyers failed to effectively represent him by not presenting information on his family background at sentencing in 1992.

Baker's attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court late yesterday afternoon to review that denial.

The decisions come a day after a federal judge rejected a request to postpone Baker's execution, saying attorneys did not prove that the drugs used in lethal injections cause unnecessary pain.

Baker, 47, was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of Jane Tyson, a 49-year-old teacher's aide.

His lawyers have also asked Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for clemency.

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