Wayne Law Review
Rees decision, death penalty, capital punishment, incompetency
In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Rees v. Peyton, a case that had been on its docket since 1965. Rees was a death penalty case in which the petitioner sought to withdraw his petition for writ of certiorari so that he could be executed. The Court stayed the proceedings after Rees was found incompetent to waive his appeal, but the Court did not dismiss the case until after Rees died of natural causes. Rees pended in the Court during the terms of three Chief Justices. Even though the Court underwent major changes in personnel and philosophy during those years, the Court's treatment of Rees was essentially the same-- to hold the case in abeyance. This article chronicles the extraordinary history of Rees in the U.S. Supreme Court for those thirty years.
Phyllis L. Crocker, Not to Decide is to Decide: The U.S. Supreme Court's Thirty-Year Struggle with One Case about Competency to Waive Death Penalty Appeals, 49 Wayne Law Review 885 (2004)