Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Death row case appealed




By John Nolan
The Associated Press

        A Kentucky prisoner who has been on death row since 1982 wasn't given a fair trial or adequate defense by his lawyers, a public defender told an appeals court in Cincinnati on Monday.

        The lawyer asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to throw out the conviction and death sentence of Kevin Stanford, 37.

        Mr. Stanford was 17 when he was accused of the January 1981 rape, robbery and murder of Louisville service station attendant Baerbel Poore, 20. He has been on death row since his 1982 conviction.

        Prior execution dates were canceled because of court appeals. No new date has been scheduled. Mr. Stanford remains at the Ken tucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville.

        Public defender J. Vincent Aprile II told the appeals judges that the trial judge didn't allow Mr. Stanford's trial attorneys to ask most of the questions they wanted to of prospective jurors.

        It would have been important for defense lawyers to try to excuse from jury service any potential jurors who believed in the death penalty and might have been more likely to recommend execution for Mr. Stanford, Mr. Aprile told the appeals judges.

        Mr. Aprile said the judge erred by not allowing those questions. And the defense attorneys did not adequately represent Mr. Stanford by failing to make renewed requests later to be allowed to ask those questions, Mr. Aprile said.

        David Smith of the Kentucky attorney general's office said there is no constitutional right that guarantees being allowed to ask such questions of prospective jurors. Mr. Stanford's trial lawyers adequately represented him, Mr. Smith argued Monday.

        “There's nothing in the record to note that any of these jurors were partial,” Mr. Smith said.

        Judges Danny Boggs, Eugene Siler Jr. and R. Guy Cole Jr. took the case under review and did not say when they will rule.

       



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