In today's episode of Interactions, we’re going to talk about the r-i-t-e rite to death—the religious rites and rituals that accompany death, made particularly salient in death row cases. For this, we’ll be looking at the case of Ramirez v. Collier.
In this case, John Ramirez, a Texas death row inmate, requested that he be permitted to have his pastor present at his execution, pray over him and lay hands on him. But Texas denied the request, and the case went to the Supreme Court. The question became whether Texas’s denial represented a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and a violation of RLUIPA. In this interview, we ask the question: What rights do religious inmates have on death row?
In this second episode of our two-part series, we talk to Peter Wosnik, the owner and founder of Wosnik Law, LLC, which is a trial-based law firm serving the Metro Atlanta area. Wosnik is also a graduate of Emory University School of Law (Juris Doctor) and Candler School of Theology (Master of Theological Studies), where he received the Savage-Levey scholarship in law and religion.