Supreme Court declines Rodney Reed appeal but questions ‘pall of uncertainty’ over conviction

Rodney Reed

FILE – In this Oct. 13, 2017, file photo, death row inmate Rodney Reed waves to his family in the Bastrop County District Court in Bastrop, Texas. Supporters for Reed, who’s facing lethal injection in less than two weeks for a murder he says he didn’t commit, are mounting a final push in the courts and on social media to stop his execution, which is being called into question by lawmakers, pastors, celebrities and the European Union. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (KXAN) — The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Rodney Reed’s appeal, but left the door open for perhaps hearing one in the future.

In her statement supporting the decision to not hear Reed’s appeal, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said “there’s no escaping the pall of uncertainty over Reed’s conviction.”

The Supreme Court said, based on Reed’s eighth and ninth appeal application in Texas courts, it wouldn’t hear his appeal, but Reed’s 10th application is still pending. Sotomayor said this decision doesn’t affect Reed’s ability to appeal to the Supreme Court if his 10th appeal in the Texas courts is denied.

“It goes without saying that, should the Texas courts deny Reed relief in his 10th state habeas proceeding,” Sotomayor wrote, “today’s decision to decline review in no way prejudices Reed’s ability to seek review of that hypothetical future decision.”

Reed is on death row for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stiles, and has always maintained his innocence.

New evidence in the case helped Reed earn an indefinite stay of execution in November, which the court acknowledged in its decision.

“While the Court today declines to review the instant petition, it of course does not pass on the merits of Reed’s innocence or close the door to future review,” Sotomayor wrote.

Click here to read the full statement from Justice Sotomayor from the Supreme Court’s website. It starts on Page 38.

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