Paul Howell, the 47-year-old Jamaican man convicted of killing a US state trooper in 1992, was granted a stay of execution on Monday, just one day before he was scheduled to be given a lethal injection at 6 o’clock on February 26th.
One of Howell attorney’s, Michael Ufferman, told The Huffington Post on Monday that he had received an order from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Howell’s execution would be temporarily stayed because the district court had granted Howell’s certificate of appealability.
Ufferman said the court was currently deciding whether or not Howell would have the opportunity to have his case heard in federal court, an opportunity he has not yet had.
HuffPost reported on Friday that Howell would be put to death Feb. 26 without having his final federal review, a routine right universally recognized for prison inmates, because a former attorney had missed a filing deadline for a crucial piece of paperwork.
Although that filing deadline is stated clearly in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 2010 ruled that that deadline can be relaxed in certain circumstances, such as the misconduct of a state-appointed attorney, like Howell’s.
The Florida Supreme Court had denied Howell’s request for a stay of execution on Feb. 19. Governor Rick Scott signed Howell’s death warrant in January.
Howell was sentenced to death in 1995 for killing State Trooper Jimmy Fulford with a pipe bomb during a traffic stop.
Ufferman said he is hopeful that Howell will be given the chance to have his case heard in federal court, but said that there is still no guarantee that will happen.