Less than two weeks after convicted killer Randall Wayne Mays was denied his latest challenge to his conviction by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Carter Tarrance of the 392nd District Court set his execution date for March 18th, 2015. Judge Tarrance signed the execution order and death warrant on July 10th. Judge Tarrance also presided over the trial.
Mays was not brought in from death row, nor was there a court hearing.
“The law does not require the judge to hold a hearing in order to set an execution date.” Said District Attorney Scott McKee. “As soon as we received notice that the Fifth Circuit refused to grant Mays a Certificate of Appealability (COA), we filed a motion to set an execution date.”
McKee indicated that this was the first available date provided to him from TDCJ through the Texas AGs Office.
The United States Supreme Court refused to grant a review of Mays’ appeal in October of 2011 and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied his Federal writ of habeas corpus in December of 2013.
Mays’ latest legal challenge to his conviction involved a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Federal court last December in an attempt to gain what's known as a Certificate of Appealability (COA) for his case. The suit was partly based on assertions that Mays is mentally handicapped, therefore, the State of Texas should not be allowed to execute him.
The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prior cases establish a precedent that the mentally handicapped do not receive an absolute constitutional protection from death penalty laws. The judges denied his request for a COA as a result.
This is the second execution date set for Mays. Texas law mandates that a court cannot set an execution date until the convict has exhausted his State Appeals and State writ of habeas corpus. In May 2011, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to set the execution date before Mays filed his Federal writ of habeas corpus.
Although his defense team fought the motion, the Court set the date for August 23, 2011.