NACDL - Christeson v. Roper

Christeson v. Roper

Brief Amici Curiae Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, National Association of Public Defense, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner.

Brief filed: 08/19/2016

Documents

Christeson v. Roper

8th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 16-02730

Prior Decision

On appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, Cause No. 4:04-cv-08004, The Honorable Dean Whipple, District Judge, presiding.

Argument

The District Court's order denying necessary funds constitutes denial of Mr. Christeson's 18 U.S.C. § 3599 right to capital habeas counsel. Summary denial of adequate funds for federal capital habeas representation deprives death-sentenced defendants due process and equal protection of law. Requiring capital post-conviction counsel to proceed without sufficient support for time-intensive legal work, mitigation investigation, and forensic experts perpetuates deficient, unethical representation. Summarily stopping capital counsel from doing their jobs as ordered by the United States Supreme Court amounts to a callous abuse of discretion that threatens the integrity of the entire justice system.

Author(s)

Mae C. Quinn and Amy E. Breihan, MacArthur Justice Center, St. Louis, MO; Steven R. Morrison, University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, ND. (NACDL was a signatory to a joint letter, dated December 23, 2016, to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals urging the Court to reconsider and reverse its December 22, 2016, order granting the prosecution's motion to expedite the appeal.)