Death Row inmate Domineque Ray hoped that when he took his final breath, he could find comfort in the presence of his Muslim spiritual adviser. But the Alabama prison where Ray was awaiting execution wouldn’t allow it. Prison officials would only allow their own Christian chaplain to offer the prisoner solace from inside the execution chamber. They said it would be a security risk to let someone into the room who wasn’t an employee of the state’s corrections department. Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, could only watch from the next room, behind glass.
Ray challenged that decision, and a federal appeals court on Wednesday granted a stay of execution until it could determine whether the prison had violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by preferring one religion over another.
But the next day, by a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the execution to go forward. Ray’s life ended Thursday night, by lethal injection.