WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday temporarily blocked the execution of a Texas inmate only hours before he was to be killed.
In a one paragraph order, the high court said the application of Cleve Foster for a stay, presented to Justice Antonin Scalia and passed on to the full court, was granted. Scalia indicated he would not have granted the stay.
The order gave Texas 30 days to file a response to Foster's petition for a rehearing on consideration of his case. If the petition is not granted, the order says, the stay will automatically be lifted.
Foster's case has gained some notoriety because of the proposed method of his execution, but a spokeswoman for his attorneys said his petition for a rehearing raises issues about the adequacy of his attorney pursuing his state constitutional claims, and related claims of innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel.
Foster was convicted of murdering Sudanese refugee Nyaneur Pal in 2002, but objected to being the first Texan to be executed with the new drug pentobarbital, Britain's Daily Mail reported.
The newspaper said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been unable to find a supplier of sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs in a mixture used in execute prisoners.
The department announced last month it would begin using pentobarbital. Oklahoma and Ohio have been using the single drug in executions, the Daily Mail said.
Sodium thiopental is no longer produced in the United States, the newspaper said.