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Amnesty Int'l lobbies for execution of Jamaican man to be stopped
2013-02-24 13:02:34 | (0 Comments)
Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called for the execution of a Jamaican man in the United States (US) to be stopped.
According to Amnesty, 47-year-old Paul Howell, who is to be executed by the state of Florida on Tuesday, was denied a federal review of his appeal after his lawyer missed the deadline to file the application.
Howell has been on death row for nearly two decades after being convicted on January 10, 1995.
In a release posted on its website, Amnesty says the US state should be concerned about questions being raised about the quality of legal representation given to Howell at his trial and on appeal. It claims that Howell’s trial attorney had a conflict of interest.
The lobby group says in addition to his conviction for killing Fulford, Howell has also faced separate charges under a federal drug conspiracy law.
Amnesty argues that the same defense attorney was appointed for both cases, but the lawyer subsequently withdrew from the federal drug case, claiming his wife had received a threatening phone call.
Amnesty says the lawyer then subsequently made prejudicial comments saying that he believed Howell was guilty and involved in the threatening phone to his wife.
The prosecution used the comments to disqualify the attorney from the case, but judges rejected the claims and allowed the lawyer to continue to represent Howell at trial without a co-counsel.
Howell, who migrated to the United States at the age of 12, was convicted for the murder of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Jimmy Fulford, in 1995 and is scheduled to be executed Tuesday by lethal injection.
His current lawyers have been trying to block Tuesday’s execution, claiming he did not receive a fair trial. However, justices of the Florida Supreme Court unanimously denied his post-conviction appeal and request for a stay of execution.
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Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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