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Texas Board Rejects Death Row Appeal

Attorneys for Delma Banks Jr., scheduled for execution Wednesday, filed petition too late.

March 11, 2003|From Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The Texas parole board refused Monday to consider a last-ditch appeal from a death row inmate claiming ineffective counsel, saying his paperwork was filed a week late.

Delma Banks Jr. faces execution by injection Wednesday for killing a teenager in 1980. He could become the 300th inmate executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment 20 years ago.

Attorneys for Banks filed the petition 15 days before the scheduled punishment. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles requires paperwork to be filed no later than 21 days before execution.

"Our position is their petition was submitted well beyond our deadline and [Banks] is not being considered," board Chairman Gerald Garrett said.

George H. Kendall, Banks' attorney, said he has asked the board to reconsider. Banks also has appeals pending with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Banks argued that his court-appointed trial attorney didn't present adequate evidence to keep him off death row. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said there was other evidence to support the jury's decision.

Defense attorneys also say Banks was the victim of unfair prosecution for the slaying of a Texarkana-area youth, Richard Wayne Whitehead, 16.

Larry Whitehead, the victim's father, said the attention the case has been getting is painful.

"All the attention and all the focus is on Banks right now and how much of a raw deal he's getting. Yet he's lived 23 years longer than my son lived. Our son got the raw deal," Whitehead said.

Several prominent members of the legal community, including former FBI Director William S. Sessions, have filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to halt Banks' execution.

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