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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, E/CN.4/1998/68/Add.3, 22 January 1998: United States of America

95. Allegations of ineffective counsel in death penalty cases have been brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur on several occasions. […] He also intervened on behalf of Calvin Burdine, a homosexual, sentenced to death in Texas. According to the information received, his lawyer fell asleep on several occasions during the trial. The lawyer was said to have accepted three jurors onto the jury who were said to have prejudice against homosexuals. Further, the Special Rapporteur was informed that the lawyer failed to object to the statement made by the prosecutor during the sentencing phase of the trial, according to which being sent to the penitentiary was not a very bad punishment for a homosexual. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reportedly ruled that his lawyer’s failure to stay awake did not affect the outcome of the case. However, the federal court gave Burdine a stay of execution and ruled that another hearing was necessary to establish if his trial had been prejudiced.

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