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Delma Banks� Latest Chance


— December 12, 2003

Court Gets Rare Look at Ineffective Counsel, Prosecutor Misconduct Charges in One Case

They say if you die in your dreams, you die in your sleep. For Delma Banks Jr., March 12 must have been like waking up from a nightmare. The Texas death row inmate had polished off his last meal, a cheeseburger and fries. He was 10 minutes from becoming the 300th inmate to die by lethal injection since Texas resumed executions in 1982.

As Banks was about to be strapped to a gurney in the state prison system�s Huntsville Unit, the call came. The U.S. Supreme Court had granted him a stay.

A month later the court agreed to conduct a sweeping review of Banks� case, which raises questions of prosecutor misconduct and ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Banks v. Dretke, No. 02-8286, is scheduled to be heard Dec. 8.

It�s the first time in more than 20 years and the second time since the Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976 that the justices have considered both issues in the same case.

The ABA Journal’s article is here.


Court Gets Rare Look at Ineffective Counsel, Prosecutor Misconduct Charges in One Case

They say if you die in your dreams, you die in your sleep. For Delma Banks Jr., March 12 must have been like waking up from a nightmare. The Texas death row inmate had polished off his last meal, a cheeseburger and fries. He was 10 minutes from becoming the 300th inmate to die by lethal injection since Texas resumed executions in 1982.

As Banks was about to be strapped to a gurney in the state prison system�s Huntsville Unit, the call came. The U.S. Supreme Court had granted him a stay.

A month later the court agreed to conduct a sweeping review of Banks� case, which raises questions of prosecutor misconduct and ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Banks v. Dretke, No. 02-8286, is scheduled to be heard Dec. 8.

It�s the first time in more than 20 years and the second time since the Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976 that the justices have considered both issues in the same case.

The ABA Journal’s article is here.

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