Federal Appeal Court Declines to Halt Death Row Conviction

Federal Appeal to Death Row Conviction

In July of 2018, a federal appeals court in Texas declined to slow down the execution of a prisoner who was convicted of killing a convenience store owner in 2004. Legal counsel for the defendant argued that his death row sentence should be halted because the man’s parole board recommended clemency for white inmates while rejecting clemency for black inmates. Establishing that discrimination occurred in this setting, however, proved to be a significant challenge for the man’s lawyer.

This case stands as a strong example of the importance that individuals who are on death row receive the assistance of a skilled federal criminal appeals lawyer who will fight for the best possible results.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision

After a federal judge dismissed the defendant’s lawsuit, the man’s legal counsel pursued the case with the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals.

After hearing the case, the Court of Appeals rejected the man’s appeal on the basis that even if a reprieve was granted, legal counsel had failed to present adequate evidence that discrimination had occurred.

In response to the court’s decision, the man’s legal counsel announced that they would not pursue the case before the Supreme Court of the United States. As a result, the defendant was left with few options to pursue measures that would halt or pardon the death row process.

The Defendant’s Execution

Later, in June of 2018, after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected the defendant’s clemency petition, the man was sent to the death chamber and executed by a fatal dose of compounded pentobarbital. One of the lessons illustrated by this case is just how difficult it can be to argue an appeal if a person has received a death sentence.

The clemency process is often one of the last options that a person on death row pursues after exhausting all other appellate measures. During the clemency process, if a defendant can provide a compelling argument regarding his or her actual innocence, the Governor might pardon the defendant’s case.

Given the stakes and the difficult burden that must be met, it can be challenging to write a successful clemency appeal.  

Some defendants are able to argue that a conviction is wrong, a sentence is excessive, or that rehabilitation for the offense in question is complete. Almost always, there is a slim chance that a clemency appeal will work, which is why individuals frequently find it critical to obtain the assistance of a skilled federal criminal appeals attorney.

Speak with a Skilled Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Federal criminal appeals frequently involve high stakes and complex processes, which is why it is critical in these situations to obtain the assistance of a skilled federal criminal appeal lawyer.

Fortunately, the legal counsel at the Federal Criminal Law Center understands the complicated nature of appeals and will fight to make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.