NY Times Cites Death Row Case Of Ineffective Lawyer Who Drank During Trial


The New York Times editorializes that Robert Wayne Holsey, on death row in Georgia for killing a police officer, should get a new sentencing hearing because he received ineffective counsel. His own lawyer told a court that he “probably shouldn't have been allowed to represent anybody,” that he drank a quart of vodka every night during the trial, and that he was preparing to defend himself against possible disbarment for stealing client funds. Both the state supreme court and a federal appeals court denied him a new hearing.

The Times, citing a dissent, says that at the trial, “the defense made only cursory mention of the beatings he suffered as a child and the fact that he had been judged mentally retarded — mitigating circumstances that could have changed the outcome.” The Times argues that Holsey “must be allowed a new hearing so a jury with all of the evidence can decide as the law and justice require.”

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