A former Oklahoma death row inmate has been freed but banished from the state after twice having first-degree murder convictions overturned because of ineffective counsel, The Oklahoman reports. James Fisher, 46, of Buffalo, N.Y., twice was convicted and sentenced to death for a 1982 murder.
Juries convicted Fisher of the crime and sentenced him to death in 1983 and again in 2005, but both times the convictions were reversed on appeal. Under a plea agreement that avoids a third trial, Fisher pleaded guilty but was given credit for the 27 years and 6 months he has served, and released. The agreement prohibits Fisher from returning to Oklahoma and requires him to complete an intensive Alabama program on reintegration into society sponsored by the Equal Justice Initiative.