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Eye On Boise

9th Circuit dismisses Duncan’s appeal of death sentence

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected claims from attorneys for multiple murderer Joseph Duncan that the killer was incompetent to waive appeals of his death sentence, and dismissed the appeal that defense attorneys filed on his behalf. The attorneys still could seek an en banc rehearing from the 9th Circuit or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the ruling is a significant step in the case of Duncan, who faces the death penalty three times over for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old North Idaho boy, Dylan Groene.

“They upheld our arguments,” said Rafael Gonzalez, first assistant U.S. Attorney for Idaho. “We’re very satisfied with the court’s ruling.” U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson, who was traveling on Friday, personally argued the case to the 9th Circuit on March 17. “Competent defendants can waive their right to appeal, even in a capital case,” she told the appeals court in San Francisco. The speedy ruling, just 10 days later, shows the judges agreed; you can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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