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U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Alabama Death Row inmate Cory Maples

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Alabama Death Row inmate Cory Maples


 By Mary Orndorff -- The Birmingham News 


 
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court today said Alabama Death Row inmate Cory Maples should not be blamed because of a paperwork error that caused him to miss a deadline for appealing his death sentence.



"Abandoned by counsel, Maples was left unrepresented at a critical time for his state
postconviction petition, and he lacked a clue of any need to protect himself pro se.  In these circumstances, no just system would lay the default at Maples' death-cell door. Satisfied that the requisite cause has been shown, we reverse the Eleventh Circuit's judgment," according to the Justices' opinion released this morning.


The case is now sent back for further proceedings. Maples wants a federal court to consider whether errors during his 1995 trial and sentencing might have kept the jury from voting 10-2 for the death penalty. Maples was convicted in the 1995 shooting deaths of two acquaintances as they sat in a car in his driveway late at night after he had been drinking.


 The court's opinion was delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and joined by six others. Justice Antonin Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.