Last chance for British grandmother on Death Row: Linda Carty’s legal team launches final appeal in Texas.

March 26, 2009

Image of Linda Carty laughing with text

Lawyers for British grandmother Linda Carty are hoping that a court appeal launched last night in Texas may yet save her life.

Linda was sentenced to death in February 2002 for the murder of Joana Rodriguez, after a catastrophically flawed trial.

The prosecution case was later found to contain multiple inconsistencies and to be based on the testimony of career criminals who avoided a possible death sentence by framing Linda.

Linda’s original defence lawyer failed to spot this or present an adequate defence. Unable to pay legal fees, she was forced to rely on a notoriously incompetent court-appointed attorney who didn’t speak to her until two weeks before her trial, for around fifteen minutes.

Despite grave doubts about her conviction, Linda’s legal team has so far been unable to get the case re-opened. Last night’s Fifth Circuit appeal is likely her last chance to legally challenge her sentence to death by lethal injection.

“It is time for the British to get seriously worried about Linda,” said Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve who are assisting in Linda’s case. “Experience tells us that anyone in the Fifth Circuit is frighteningly close to getting executed. Linda has not come close to a fair hearing so far – she had perhaps the worst defense lawyer in the US, who presented virtually no defence, and no court has since taken her case seriously.”

The opinions expressed here are wholly the views of Reprieve UK and in no way represent the position of Baker Botts or any of our funders or affiliates.


Note for Editors: Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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