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View Diary: Man with 51 IQ held for 30 years without proper trial (79 comments)

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  •  If that is the case did he have effective counsel? (6+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't his lawyer have known that the conviction was overturned, therefore not to go for the commutation effort?

    I'm not sure I get all the facets of this yet, but it seems like there is a huge mess here.

    The thing is, did he actually kill the people or get railroaded?  I don't think anyone is arguing he didn't commit the murders, or am I mistaken?  

    At any rate, with an IQ of that level, it doesn't sound like he had a lot of mental capacity.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:40:28 PM PST

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    •  He didn't have a lawyer as I remember (15+ / 0-)

      The really remarkable thing about this challenge, which by the way was roundly ignored by the less than useless Texas Court of Criminal Appeals TWICE, is that it originated in a pro se challenge (ie one filed by the appellant himself without the help of a lawyer), he was only assigned a lawyer at all once it got to the Federal level.

      hope springs eternal

      by ahyums on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:06:03 AM PST

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      •  So He Represented Himself at Trial? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, raincrow

        He's free to do that but this would explain why no one on the outside was trying to set a new trial right after the 5th Circuit ordered a new one.

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:23:11 AM PST

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        •  he had a trial lawyer, but not for appeals. (7+ / 0-)

          Just a jailhouse friend who helped him with the pleadings.

          •  Yikes! His Lawyer Let this Happen?? nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan, raincrow

            "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

            by Aspe4 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:42:45 AM PST

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            •  Let's go back to that 1983 Tx Ct Crim App opinion (5+ / 0-)

              Voila. There were timing issues involved:

              The State's only meritorious issue raised in this regard is whether appellant failed to properly preserve his error as to the exclusion of this venirewoman. The State now maintains that while appellant's trial counsel made "an exception" to the court's ruling, this constituted nothing more than a general objection and he therefore waived any possible error. We do not agree. It must be kept in mind that the voir dire examination in question took place in June of 1977, three full years prior to the June 1980 decision in Adams, supra. Therefore, at the time Hlozek was excused, Sec. 12.31(b) was considered constitutional even to the extent that it allowed exclusion of prospective jurors on a broader ground than Witherspoon, supra, and consequently there was no reason for appellant's counsel to strenuously attempt to preserve his error. We find that appellant did not waive his error. The improper exclusion of even one juror requires that the death sentence not be imposed. Davis v. Georgia, 429 U.S. 122, 97 S.Ct. 399, 50 L.Ed.2d 399 (1976). The State's contention is overruled
      •  Texas courts are a mess, particularly the appeals (4+ / 0-)

        courts.  Elected judges are just a bad idea in any place, but a particularly awful idea here in Texas.  Imagine being on trial and your judge is a tea-bagger buffoon.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:09:32 AM PST

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    •  Also to try and shed some light on your other (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm, codairem, Aspe4, YucatanMan

      questions. ( really wish we could edit comments so I could add it to the above)

      The way this happened as far as I understand it, is that his conviction was overturned on the basis of an inappropriate juror who was biased in favor of the death penalty being on the jury. The way Texas law was at the time that meant the whole conviction as gone, nowadays a similar challenge would result in a new penalty phase trial ie. life or death, but either way he would still be in prison. His death sentence was then commuted by the governor and as far as Texas were concerned that was the end of the matter, I assume they just treated him as if he was sentenced to life.

      So the short answer is no idea if he is innocent or not, though I would note the low IQ would man he would trouble effectively defending himself and there it has been established that those with a pro death bias are more likely to vote to convict in the first place.

      hope springs eternal

      by ahyums on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:56:07 AM PST

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