Death Row Inmate Can't Challenge His Sentence in Fort Worth Case, Supreme Court Rules

This story is developing.WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a Fort Worth death row inmate in a procedural case that tested whether having an ineffective lawyer is enough of a reason to have an appeals court reconsider the claims.In a 5-4 decision announced by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court ruled that Erick Davila cannot bring a claim that he received ineffective counsel during the appeals process because his attorney didn’t challenge his trial lawyer’s performance.The case originated in 2008, when Davila shot and killed a rival gang member’s mother and 5-year-old daughter at a birthday party in Fort Worth.Davila insisted that he meant to murder only the rival gang member and didn’t deserve the death penalty, which under Texas law requires the intent to kill multiple people.But the trial judge in the case — over the objection of Davila’s lawyer — didn't explain that requirement and instructed the jury that Davila could still be held responsible if the only distinction between what happened and what he desired to do was that he killed the wrong person.  Continue reading...

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