"Supreme Court orders review of 6 Texas death row cases," is the AP report written by Michael Graczyk. The article is also available via the Austin American-Statesman. It comes in the wake of last week's Supreme Court ruling in Trevino v. Thaler.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sent the cases of six Texas death row inmates, including one of the infamous "Texas 7" gang of escapees, back to a lower court for reviews of whether attorneys in earlier stages of appeals let the men down.
The decisions are in line with last week's ruling in another Texas case where the justices, in a 5-4 vote, said a condemned prisoner had deficient legal help early because appeals lawyers didn't raise challenges that his trial lawyers were ineffective.
The high court returned the cases to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for review. None of the six has a pending execution date, although some had come close to being put to death in the past before their punishment was delayed by the courts.
Last week's precedent-setting case for Monday's decisions involved convicted killer Carlos Trevino, 38, a San Antonio street gang member condemned for the 1996 gang rape and fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old Linda Salinas.
Trevino's attorneys argued his trial lawyers were deficient for not investigating evidence of a horrific childhood that could have swayed the Bexar County jury to give him life in prison rather. Then, lawyers in the initial stages of his appeal were equally deficient for not raising the claim that the trial lawyers were ineffective, Trevino's lawyers argued to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The high court disagreed with state attorneys who contended Texas law provided ways to accommodate the challenges and that the appeal was without merit.
The Supreme Court's Order is available in Adobe .pdf format.
Earlier coverage of Trevino begins at the link.