Wednesday, March 7, 2012

R.I.P. Keith Thurmond

Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution
Texas executed Keith Thurmond on March 7, 2012, for the murder of his estranged wife, Sharon Anne Thurmond, and her boyfriend, Guy Fernandez in 2001.

Thurmond's trial lawyer failed to investigate Thurmond's background, which would have informed the jury deciding his fate of  substantial physical and emotional abuse inflicted upon the Thurmond, his siblings and his mother by his alcoholic and mentally unstable father.  Thurmond did not have better luck with his post-conviction lawyers.

His state appellate lawyer filed a bare bones appeal and his next court-appointed lawyer blew the federal filing deadline, blaming it on a broken filing machine at the court.  The federal appellate court first denied Thurmond's federal claims because of untimeliness, but later reversed this ruling.  However, another claim, that Thurmond's post-conviction lawyers were "grossly deficient" in their investigation of Thurmond's background was rejected.  A similar issue -- involving the right to effective assistance of state post-conviction counsel -- is currently pending in the United States Supreme Court in a case out of Arizona.  The Court, however, denied a request to halt the execution at least until the issue in the Arizona case was resolved.

Read more here:

This is the seventh execution in the United States in 2012, the third in Texas.


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