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Federal court delays Manuel Valle execution

A federal court has delayed the execution of Manuel Valle, who shot and killed Coral Gables Police Officer Louis Pena after a routine traffic stop in 1978.

Valle’s execution was scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta temporarily stayed the execution until at least 7 p.m. Thursday.

In that time, the appeals court asked Valle’s lawyers and the Florida attorney general’s office to submit written arguments regarding Valle’s claim that he was improperly denied a clemency hearing.

This is the second delay in Valle’s execution since Gov. Rick Scott signed a death warrant earlier this summer. The first time, the execution was pushed back for a month while the courts examined if the new use of a drug in Florida’s lethal injections is safe and effective.

The Florida Supreme Court signed off on using the drug, pentobarbital. The governor rescheduled the execution — originally set for Aug. 2 — for Tuesday.

Valle’s lawyers filed at least two separate appeals in federal court and another with the U.S. Supreme Court. One of those appeals resulted in the second stay of execution. The others are pending.