Death by lawyer

George W. is confident that justice was done in every single execution carried out in Texas during his time as governor — 146 of them, as of Wednesday. That’s a relief, because the picture’s not quite so clear in North Carolina, where earlier this week a lawyer admitted purposely fumbling the appeal of a convicted murderer because he didn’t like the man. His former client is due to be executed in December.

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An Associated Press story in the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS reports that Attorney David B. Smith was aware that his co-counsel, Steven Allen, misunderstood the deadline for the appeal, but failed to correct him, and stalled to avoid meetings. A date for Tucker’s execution was set after the defense missed the deadline.

Smith, overcome with remorse, confessed a week later. Tucker’s case is still up in the air, though prosecutors continue to oppose both his appeal and attempts to replace his attorneys. Lucky this kind of thing never happens in Texas.


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