Thursday, March 22, 2001

Supreme Court denies request in death penalty case as premature

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court has denied a request by Attorney General Betty Montgomery that would have speeded up a competency hearing for a man whose execution is scheduled for next month. The court said the request was premature.

        Jay D. Scott is to be executed April 17 for killing a Cleveland delicatessen owner 18 years ago.

        Last month, Mr. Scott's attorneys filed a motion in federal court requesting money to assist them in evaluating his competency. One of Mr. Scott's attorneys, Timothy Sweeney, said the motion was not a request for a competency hearing.

        “Our view is that if we pursue competency, we intend to follow the statutory procedure, and that state was trying to set its own schedule,” he said.

        Ms. Montgomery had asked the Supreme Court to make Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court conduct a hearing soon to prevent Mr. Scott's attorneys from using a competency hearing to delay the execution.

        “In making their request for funding to hire a psychiatrist, Mr. Scott's attorneys are not asserting his insanity,” the Su preme Court wrote. “Moreover, since no notice of apparent insanity has been given, there is no case pending before the trial court that can be accelerated.”

        Mr. Sweeney said he and Mr. Scott's other attorneys are evaluating whether to pursue the competency hearing.


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