U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge, after quizzing condemned killer Joseph Duncan repeatedly about whether he wants to appeal his death sentence and about whether he gave his standby attorneys permission to file an appeal for him, declared himself satisfied that Duncan, at this point, doesn’t want to appeal, and he dismissed the appeal filed for him by the attorneys. “The government’s motion to strike your appeal is proper, and the court’s going to grant that,” Lodge told defense attorney Judy Clarke.
Clarke objected, saying the government had “manipulated” Duncan on his appeal decision, in part by providing him with milkshakes and other enticements during jailhouse visits. She cited “what we perceive to be a sustained and strategic effort to manipulate Mr. Duncan with regard to his position on appealing. … Part of this sustained effort by the FBI involved them taking milkshakes, coffee, gifts, family photos to Mr. Duncan,” and even, she said, speculating about who would play his mother in a movie about his case.
U.S. Attorney Tom Moss said prosecutors didn’t know anything about milkshakes and weren’t involved with the FBI’s jailhouse interviews with Duncan after his sentencing, which court documents said involved additional investigative questions from the FBI about Duncan’s 2005 crimes.
Asked directly by the judge whether he gave his permission for the attorneys to file the notice of appeal, Duncan said no. “My choice is not to appeal,” he told the court. He also said, “I do not want to get involved in the rationalization process of killing, again. … My position is the system has a choice to make. I’ve made my choices, and now you have to make yours. I want to allow and accept that choice, but I don’t want to participate in it.”
The judge noted that Duncan still has until Nov. 28 to file an appeal of his death sentence, and he’s free to change his mind until that point. Lodge told Duncan, “The right to appeal is possessed by you and you alone.”