Philadelphia partner Larry Fox commented on the execution of Paul Howell in his op-ed titled, “Execution but not Justice,” published in the Tallahassee Democrat. Larry is the supervising lawyer and a lecturer at the Ethics Bureau at Yale, which filed an amicus brief in the Howell case.
Larry described the Florida state execution of Paul Howell as intentional homicide without justification. Although Howell killed a police officer with a home-made pipe bomb intended for someone else, he never received his entitlement to habeas review of his conviction. He never had a day in court to which he was constitutionally entitled. This occurred because Howell’s lawyer on habeas did not address his case until the statute of limitations for filing that safeguard of constitutionality had long since expired. Indeed, when his lawyer first contacted her client, all had already been lost.
Larry said, “The lawyer makes an error and the client pays it with his life? That is the current state of the law. The Supreme Court has announced that the lawyer is the agent of the client. And the client-principal is responsible for any errors of the lawyer-agent.”
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