Supreme Court orders further proceedings for death row inmate
Supreme Court orders further proceedings for death row inmate

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday reversed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling and ordered further proceedings for Mark Christeson, a Missouri man convicted of killing a woman and her two children. The court determined that the 35-year-old may have received ineffective legal counsel, which led to his failure to meet a deadline to file papers. Because of this failure, Christeson’s case was never reviewed in federal court. The Supreme Court disagreed with this result, and ordered that Christeson’s case be heard. Christeson was originally scheduled to be executed by injection in October for the three murders in 1998.

The Supreme Court first intervened in Christeson’s case by halting his execution [JURIST report] pending review of ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The court also ordered [text, PDF] supplemental briefs be submitted by his attorneys. Prior to appealing to the Supreme Court, Christeson’s attorneys and the former judges filed an amicus brief with US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website], claiming that he was unable to appeal his case to the federal courts because his former attorneys missed a deadline by four months in 2005. However, the appellate court refused to stay the execution and rejected his appeals.