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Eye On Boise

Duncan: ‘I didn’t want to appeal’

Federal prosecutors are trying to strike the notice of appeal filed by stand-by attorneys for admitted multiple murderer Joseph Duncan, saying Duncan never wanted to appeal his death sentence and the attorneys acted without his permission. “The decision to appeal is solely that of the defendant and cannot be made for him by counsel,” U.S. Attorney Tom Moss argued in a motion filed today.

Prosecutors said two FBI agents have met with Duncan five times since his death sentence was handed down on Aug. 27, and he told them repeatedly that he didn’t want to appeal his death sentence. “To the contrary, the defendant informed Special Agent Mike Gneckow on November 13, 2008 that he does not intend to appeal, that his stand-by counsel had tried to pressure him into signing permission to appeal and that he believed that his stand-by counsel would try to file an appeal without his permission,” Moss wrote in court documents.

In a recorded meeting with Gneckow at the Ada County Jail on Nov. 13, Duncan and Gneckow were talking at 5:10 p.m. when an envelope was slid under the door to Duncan’s cell, according to an affidavit from Gneckow. It was addressed to “Judge Lodge,” but a sticker on it showed it’d been returned due to an incorrect address. Duncan then said, “Wow, it didn’t get delivered. Hmmm, interesting. That was my … letter to the judge telling him that my attorneys were planning to appeal without my permission. Which, uh. Apparently it didn’t get delivered. I must’ve had the wrong address or something.”

Ten minutes later, Duncan told Gneckow, “I was trying to tell the judge that I didn’t want to appeal, but my attorneys told me they were going to appeal anyway.” You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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