On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court is considering an appeal by a death row convict who pleaded not guilty to a last-minute escape from a death sentence in 2019 as a result of a campaign supported by stars, lawmakers and millions of Americans.
The Supreme Court will not consider the details of the Rodney Reed case but rather a technical issue of time limits in procedural matters.
The court’s decision, due by June, will have a direct impact on Reid’s fate as it either decides to reopen his case or proceed with the death sentence.
In 1998, an all-white jury ruled in Texas that Reed, a 54-year-old African-American, should be executed for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
Reed has consistently denied the accusation, asserting that he had a secret relationship with the victim.
After losing several times before the Texas courts, in 2019, he decided to resort to the Federal Supreme Court, accusing the Texas courts of “depriving him of his rights.”
However, the Supreme Court refused to intervene because Reade’s request came too late, as the law states that an appeal must be lodged within two years of the state court’s decision.
The issue here is to know the date on which this two-year period begins. While Texas says that the period starts from the date of the first decision issued, Reid stresses that the period should count from the last court decision.
And in 2019, when the state of Texas set a date for the execution of his death sentence, Reid benefited from a large campaign in which celebrities such as reality TV star Kim Kardashian, singers Rihanna and Beyoncé and a large number of deputies, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz, demanded to reopen his file.
While the campaign this time seems limited, his supporters plan to demonstrate in front of the court in Washington to coincide with the session.