Federal Appeals court rules for attorneys of Oklahoma death row inmates

Tuesday, January 24th 2006, 5:59 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) -- Oklahoma death row inmates and their attorneys win a significant ruling from a federal appeals court.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Monday that attorneys for Oklahoma death row inmates are entitled to be paid with federal funds for work in state clemency hearings.

The 8-to-3 ruling reversed a 2004 decision by US District judge in Tulsa who concluded Congress didn't intend to use federal funds for that purpose.

But the defense attorneys said other federal judges in Oklahoma had authorized federal funds for that purpose 47 times in the past 10 years.

The attorneys warned they would stop taking post-conviction death penalty cases if the appeals court did not come to their rescue. They said they could not financially afford to work on clemency hearings if they are not paid.