On May 5, 2014, attorneys for Robert Campbell, who is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on May 13, 2014, filed an application for post-conviction writ of habeas corpus in the 232nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The application seeks a stay of execution for Mr. Campbell in order to give the court time to provide a full and fair review of his claims related to ineffective assistance of counsel and evidence of intellectual disabilities; to date, no state court has given serious consideration to these claims. Proceeding with his execution under these circumstances would be profoundly unfair.
Specifically, the application seeks relief on two key issues:
– Mr. Campbell received ineffective assistance of counsel during his 1992 trial and in state habeas proceedings. His trial counsel did not conduct a thorough investigation into potential mitigating evidence and, subsequently, failed to present substantial evidence of Mr. Campbell’s turbulent and deprived childhood to the jury during the punishment phase, or to explore obvious questions about Mr. Campbell’s cognitive impairment. The attorney then appointed to represent him on initial habeas corpus proceedings was incompetent and filed a meaningless, boilerplate claim – identical to the claims he had filed in four other death penalty cases – on behalf of his client, with whom he never even met before filing the appeal.
– No court has considered evidence of Mr. Campbell’s intellectual disabilities, which bar his execution under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Atkins vs. Virginia (2002). A recent comprehensive evaluation assessed his IQ at 69, and school records discovered by current counsel provide additional evidence of “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning.”
Statement from Attorneys for Robert Campbell Regarding the Application for Post-Conviction Relief
“Robert Campbell faces execution despite the fact that no state court has given full consideration to the ineffectiveness of his lawyers, at multiple levels, or the significant evidence of his intellectual disability. His trial attorney failed to present jurors with a clear and compelling picture of Mr. Campbell’s violent and impoverished childhood, which could have persuaded them to spare his life – indeed, they deliberated on his fate for nine hours even without knowing the full story of Mr. Campbell’s deprived background. This failure was compounded by the incompetence of the attorney appointed to represent Mr. Campbell in initial habeas corpus proceedings in state court, whose ineptitude erected insurmountable hurdles to meaningful review in subsequent proceedings in federal court.
“Mr. Campbell has also been denied the opportunity to present his Atkins claim of intellectual disability, which was dismissed in 2003 on the basis of a factual record that we now know was incomplete and misleading. There is ample evidence to support the fact that Mr. Campbell is intellectually disabled and therefore may not legally be executed. These compelling facts should not be dismissed on a technicality.
“Executing Mr. Campbell under these circumstances would be profoundly unfair. We urge the court to grant relief to Mr. Campbell by staying his execution and providing him with the full and fair opportunity he deserves to present his claims to the court — this time with the assistance of competent counsel.”
– Attorney Robert C. Owen, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law
– Attorney Raoul D. Schonemann, Capital Punishment Clinic, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law
May 6, 2014
For information regarding the Texas lethal injection protocol, drugs in the TDCJ’s possession, background on previous disputes between TDCJ and pharmacies, please contact attorney Maurie Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org and (512) 294-1540, attorney Jonathan Ross atJROSS@susmangodfrey.com and 832-659-8126 or Laura Burstein at Laura.Burstein@squiresanders.com, (202) 626-6868.