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Constitutional Law

Convicted Murderer’s Estate Seeks to Appeal, at State Expense, In Unusual Wash. Case

Posted Sep 29, 2011 11:24 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Traditionally, as in the case of Enron's former chief executive, Kenneth Lay, criminal convictions in many jurisdictions have been abated if the defendant died before sentencing or while his appeal was still pending.

But some doubt has been cast on whether that doctrine still applies in Washington, following a recent opinion by the state's top court. So a lawyer for a long-haul truck driver who committed suicide a few days after being convicted of murder is arguing that the state should pay for the appeal—which the estate of Christopher Harrison Devlin, 57, wants to pursue—to continue to a conclusion, reports the Seattle Times. An appeal had already been filed before Devlin died.

Gregory Link's argument is opposed by prosecutor Mark Lindsey, a senior deputy Spokane County prosecutor.

"The right to appeal a criminal conviction is solely for an individual," he stated.

Related coverage:

Sirens & Gavels (Spokesman-Review): "Charges sought in inmate’s drug death"

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