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Smiley-face appeal rejected

The U.S. Supreme Court refused without comment Monday to hear the appeal of a Texas death row inmate whose execution warrant was signed with a "happy face."

Lower courts previously had rejected the challenge of Robert Drew, who was convicted of fatally stabbing an Alabama teenager in 1983 and sentenced to die by lethal injection.

Drew's attorney, Ronald Kuby, said lower courts dismissed the case on a technicality and never ruled on whether District Judge Charles Hearn should be allowed to use the smiley-face as part of his signature.

Hearn said he had used the smiley-face for years as a symbol of his faith in God. "The ruling speaks for itself," he said Monday. "It's part of my signature."

Drew, 34, came within hours of execution in October before being granted a reprieve by a Texas court. No new execution date has been set.

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