DALLAS (AP) Texas prisons will no longer allow clergy in the death chamber after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the scheduled execution of a man who argued his religious freedom would be violated if his Buddhist spiritual adviser couldnt accompany him.
Effective immediately, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will only permit prison security staff into the execution chamber, a spokesman said Wednesday. The policy change comes in response to the high courts ruling staying the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the Texas 7 gang of escaped prisoners.
Texas previously allowed state-employed clergy to accompany inmates into the room where theyd be executed, but its prison staff included only Christian and Muslim clerics.
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