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Push to inform death row inmates of right to waive appeals

5 years ago May 11, 2010 May 11, 2010 Tuesday, May 11 2010 Tuesday, May 11, 2010 2:43:57 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

There's a push to make death row inmates aware that they have the right to waive their automatic appeals of their death sentence.

This comes four months after Gerald Bordelon was put to death.  Bordelon molested and murdered his 12 year old stepdaughter Courtney LeBlanc in Livingston Parish in 2002.  Bordelon was one of the first inmates in recent memory to waive his rights to appeal.

Bordelon's attorney Jill Craft said the fight to waive the appeals took more than two years.

"The Louisiana Supreme Court agreed that my client does indeed have a constitutional right to waive his appeals," Craft said.  "The argument was very simple, if he has a right to do something he certainly has a right to not do something."

Senator Dan Claitor proposed Senate Bill 774 which wouldn't make any changes to the current law which allows an automatic appeal of any death sentence.  However, if bill 774 becomes law, it would allow inmates to be informed upon sentencing they have a right to waive the lengthy appeals process which usually takes decades.

"They need to be aware that they can waive it," Claitor said.  "That's all this does."

Bordelon's mother, Alethea told News 2 her family was saved emotional anguish by eliminating the lengthy appeals process.

"It gave him that dignity to say I'm sorry," Bordelon said.  "I think I deserve this punishment, and I'm ready to have it carried out."


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