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Canadian Death Row Prisoners' International Law Claims Rejected

The plaintiff, a Canadian sentenced to death in the United States, alleged that he had been subjected to psychological torture in violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment because of his nine execution dates and repeated stays during 22 years on death row. He also complained of violation of his right under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to consult with Canadian consular officials upon his arrest.

A federal court cannot stay an execution under § 1983; federal statutes permit a stay of state executions only if a habeas proceeding is pending. Such a proceeding is not an authorized exception to the Anti-Injunction Act.

The court denies a TRO on the merits as well, since the plaintiff has pursued every possible avenue to avoid execution, and therefore cannot complain that his execution was delayed and rescheduled. His consular consultation claim is precluded by decisions in earlier proceedings. See: Faulder v. Johnson, 99 F.Supp.2d 774 (S.D.Tex. 1999).

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Related legal case

Faulder v. Johnson