Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants stay of execution to Julius Murphy

Late today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution to Julius Murphy, pending further order from the court.  Murphy was scheduled to be executed on November 3 for the 1997 robbery and shooting of Jason Erie. On September 24, 2015 attorneys filed pleadings identifying the existence of new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct calling into question the reliability of his conviction and death sentence. Those pleadings can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/1jdURm1.

In addition to the new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, Murphy’s case has many other elements common to problematic death penalty cases, including intellectual disability, racial bias, and serious questions of arbitrariness and proportionality.  Mr. Murphy, African American man, was 18 years old at the time of the crime and was sentenced to death by an all-white jury.  His co-defendant is serving a sentence of life in prison.

Attorney Statement in Response to Today’s Stay of Execution in the Julius Murphy Case by the TX Court of Criminal Appeals   

“The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was correct to stay the execution of Julius Murphy today. Mr. Murphy’s conviction and death sentence were procured through prosecutorial misconduct.  Jurors considered evidence from two key witnesses while the prosecution unlawfully concealed the fact that those witnesses were pressured into testifying with threats of prosecution and promised leniency if they testified. And one of the witnesses has now identified Mr. Murphy’s co-defendant as the true shooter. We look forward to continuing to raise the constitutional infirmities underlying Mr. Murphy’s conviction and death sentence before the courts.”

-Catherine E. Stetson of Hogan Lovells, attorney for Julius Murphy, October 12, 2015 

Today’s Stay Order can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/1K4XTyd

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