A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal from Edgar Steele, the self-proclaimed “attorney for the damned” from North Idaho, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the attempted murder-for-hire of his wife. Steele claimed improper jury instructions and other errors in his conviction, but a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those claims in a decision issued today. “There was no error in the instruction, plain or otherwise,” the court found. It also ruled that the U.S. District Court in Idaho didn’t err when it didn’t take up Steele’s claim of improper assistance of counsel before conviction; that can be considered in post-conviction proceedings, the court ruled.
A federal jury convicted Steele of four felonies for paying a handyman in silver to kill his wife and mother-in-law with a car bomb. Steele maintained the whole thing was a government conspiracy, and that audiotapes of him discussing the plot with the handyman were fabricated; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.