Friday, 15 June 2007

Federal appeals court delays order in death penalty case

Friday, June 15, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals court has temporarily delayed its order dismissing a lawsuit over lethal injection while a death row inmate appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit was brought by Richard Cooey, sentenced to die for killing two University of Akron students in 1986, and has been joined by eight other death row inmates.

In March, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ordered U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost to dismiss the lawsuit. The court said Frost used the wrong test for establishing the starting date for the two-year time limit on such challenges. Earlier this month, the full 6th Circuit let the panel’s decision stand. The panel set the date for filing the lawsuit at the exhaustion of Cooey’s state appeals in 1995.

The state public defender’s office argues that the statute of limitations starts when federal appeals are complete. On Tuesday, the same 6th Circuit panel said it was delaying its March order while Cooey filed an appeal. The decision affects all death row inmates who joined the lawsuit. The eight inmates are: Johnnie Baston, Kenneth Biros, Clarence Carter, Nicole Diar, Jerome Henderson, Jeffrey Hill, John Spirko and Arthur Tyler.

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