Prosecution tactics at issue in Texas death case

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U.S. Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Delma Banks Jr., who has lived on Texas’ death row longer than any other inmate. Banks maintains that his murder conviction was flawed by fabricated testimony from key witnesses, evidence withheld from the defense and ineffective representation by his trial lawyer, the Dallas Morning News reports. Banks was convicted in Texarkana in 1980 for the murder of a co-worker in the nearby town of Nash. Last month, the high court granted a stay of execution a few minutes before Banks was to be strapped onto the gurney. He would have been the 300th prisoner executed in Texas since 1982. George Kendall, Banks’s appellate attorney, said, “I think the justices are bothered by the scope and magnitude of the [trial] errors in this case.” The justices agreed to hear defense arguments on three major issues: that prosecutors in Bowie County allowed an informant to lie about his relationship with police; that they hid important evidence concerning several witnesses from the defense; and that Banks received ineffective representation from his attorney, a former Bowie County prosecutor. James Elliott, a Bowie County prosecutor involved in the case, said “I am comforted by two facts: one, that Delma Banks was, and is, a murderer who remains in the custody of the state; and two, that the justices in no way took up any questions that should, in the end, affect the case.”


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