Although child-killer Joseph Duncan waived his right to appeal his triple death sentence for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old North Idaho boy, Duncan, through a team of attorneys, is now pressing a series of continued challenges. That’s in part because more than two years after Duncan waived his appeals, he changed his mind. Courts said it was too late for his direct appeal, but he’s now in the midst of the next stage, his habeas filings, in which his attorneys can challenge aspects of his conviction and sentencing on constitutional grounds. These challenges start in the U.S. District Court but can be then appealed again to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Duncan’s case already has been to the U.S. Supreme Court twice; the high court refused to review it each time.
Last week, federal prosecutors in Idaho filed their legal arguments responding to Duncan’s 231-page “motion for collateral relief,” which his attorneys filed last winter. “None of Duncan’s contentions have merit,” prosecutors wrote in their conclusion, after going through, in detail, Duncan’s arguments on various legal and procedural grounds.
Duncan’s attorneys are raising arguments ranging from questioning the constitutionality of the death penalty to suggestions that Spokane attorney Roger Peven’s early withdrawal from Duncan’s case due to unrelated personal problems sabotaged Duncan’s case – even though the confessed murderer and child rapist pleaded guilty to all the charges, including multiple murder charges. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.