Texas death row inmate Erik Davila faces execution after losing his appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In June, the justices ruled against Davila by 5-4. He now faces execution over the 2008 shooting deaths of a five-year-old girl and her grandmother in Fort Worth.
The justices examined the issue of ineffective legal representation during the June hearing. The question before the justices related to whether ineffective assistance of counsel during state appeals should be treated in the same manner as during an original trial reported the Texas Tribune.
The question has been treated differently by appellate courts throughout the country. However, Justice Clarence Thomas gave the majority opinion at the high court, saying different types of lawyers should not be treated the same. The decision rendered Davila’s case ineligible for consideration at the federal court.
Thomas wrote in his opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch.
“Because a prisoner does not have a constitutional right to counsel in state post-conviction proceedings, ineffective assistance in those proceedings does not qualify as cause to excuse a procedural default.”
The state of Texas indicted Davila for capital murder stating he killed more than one person during the same transaction. During the trial, the jury was instructed on transferred intent and informed that it would be able to find Davila guilty of murder if it determined that he intended to kill one person but instead killed a different person.
The jury convicted Davila of capital murder. However, during his appeal, his appellate counsel argued that the State of Texas failed to show the necessary intent of a guilty verdict. However, the defense failed to challenge the jury instruction of transferred intent.
Murder is one of the most serious charges you can face in the State of Texas. Texas executes more people than any other state. It’s important to hire an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer if you have been hit with this charge.
See our resources on murder here and call us for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.