Texas is scheduled to execute a convict today whose attorney filed an appeal with incoherent repetitions, rambling arguments and language clearly lifted from one of his previous cases, so that it described the wrong crime, reports the San Antonio Express-News. While inmate Justin Chaz Fuller’s last hope for a reprieve waits on the U.S. Supreme Court and the governor, his case is cited as an example of the state’s failure to adequately examine death penalty convictions. The same lawyer, in another pending capital case, apparently copied his client’s letters so that, instead of citing legal cases, the filed documents echo the inmate’s unintelligible arguments, flawed grammar, and his complaint that he was about to run out of paper.
The state paid attorney Toby Wilkinson about $18,000 in each case, for a total of $36,514. State law requires that death row inmates receive “competent counsel” for their post-conviction challenges, known as applications for writ of habeas corpus. Perhaps most striking, the pleadings for Fuller copied wording from an appeal Wilkinson filed for a different client, Henry Earl Dunn, in an unrelated case. As a result, it complains about testing for blood on a gun used by Dunn’s co-defendant seven years earlier.