"Lawyers, judges seek stay for Missouri inmate Christeson," is by Bob Priddy for MissouriNet. There is audio at the link.
A national group that says it tries to reach consensus on difficult constitutional issues, and a number of former state and appellate judges warn that the execution of Mark Christeson tomorrow night would “cast a pall” over the judicial process. They claim Christeson has been denied his legal rights.
Mark Christeson was 18 when he and a 17-year-old cousin murdered a woman and her two children and threw their bodies into a pond near Vichy in 1998. He is the only condemned Missouri prisoner whose case has not been reviewed at the federal level.
The judges and the Constitution Project are asking the Eighth District federal appeals court to stay the execution and to throw Christeson’s attorneys off the case.
Constitution Project counsel Sarah Turberville says Christeson’s lawyers missed the deadline by 117 days for filing a federal appeal and that’s why they should no longer represent him. She says it’s a conflict of interest for his attorneys to represent him because they have “blown any attempt he would have at federal review.”
"Former judges raise concerns about Missouri execution scheduled for this week," is by Jim Salter of AP, via the Republic.
Attorneys for a condemned Missouri man and several former judges on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his upcoming execution, saying a mistake by his former attorneys cost him the chance to appeal his case through the federal courts.
Mark Christeson is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the killing a southern Missouri woman and her two children in 1998. He would be the ninth person put to death in Missouri this year.
Christeson's attorneys and 15 former judges filed a brief Friday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals claiming Christeson was denied federal court review because the court-appointed attorneys who took over his case after the trial missed the deadline to file a federal appeals petition by four months.
The 8th Circuit refused the request, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court.
AP also posts, "Religious leaders seek clemency for Missouri man set for execution Wednesday," via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Several religious leaders from across Missouri are asking Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency for a man scheduled to be put to death this week.
A clemency letter signed by leaders of several denominations raises concerns about actions of prosecutors in the case and says Christeson's trial attorney was inadequate. The letter also raises concerns about Christeson's mental capacity and questions why his case has not received review in federal court.
The Constitution Project has issued a news release, "TCP: Judges' Brief Warns Allowing Christeson Execution to Proceed Without Court Review Would 'cast a pall' over the Judicial Process." Here's the beginning:
Last month, the Supreme Court of Missouri set an Oct. 29th execution date for Missouri death row inmate Mark Christeson. Today, a group of former state appellate and federal district and circuit court judges - from across the political spectrum and the nation, including the state of Missouri - filed an amicus brief, organized by The Constitution Project, and drafted with the pro bono assistance of Goldstein & Russell P.C., in support of Christeson's request for a stay of execution with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Asserting their strong interest in maintaining the fairness and public legitimacy of the judicial system, the judges acknowledge that they have a "heavy responsibility to ensure that the process is beyond reproach," particularly in capital cases. The judges take no position on the merits of Christeson's claims, but they are united in their view that a court must thoroughly examine allegations that attorneys appointed to represent Christeson abandoned him and then worsened their malfeasance by misleading Christeson about their errors. Their abandonment has left Christeson as the only man on Missouri's death row to have been deprived of any federal review of his death sentence. "To permit an execution without further review," the brief warns, "would cast a pall over the process."
Earlier coverage begins at the link.