Anthony Graves Update

Seeking to overturn a lower court's ruling that death row inmate Anthony Graves must be given a new trial by Sept. 12, AG's office files final appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office has filed a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn a lower court's ruling that death row inmate Anthony Graves must be given a new trial by Sept. 12, reports the Houston Chronicle. Graves and co-defendent Robert Carter (who was executed in May 2000) were convicted and sentenced to die for the murders of six family members, including four children under 10 years old; the family was bludgeoned and shot and their home was set on fire in an apparent attempt to cover the crime. Graves has long maintained his innocence but was fingered for the crimes by Carter; Carter later recanted, saying Graves played no part in the murders or arson. Graves' conviction was finally overturned last year when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors violated Graves' rights by withholding evidence during his 1994 trial. (The fight to free Graves has been waged in part by a group of journalism students at the University of St. Thomas who, working with the University of Houston's Texas Innocence Network, investigated Graves' case for three years, and uncovered evidence that they say proves his innocence.) In the wake of the 5th Circuit's ruling, Galveston-based federal district Judge Samuel Kent set a June 3 deadline for the AG to appeal the ruling (an option the AG took, just before the deadline) and set a firm Sept. 12 date for a retrial – a date the AG's office will reportedly seek to stay, the daily reports. "Since they waited until the last minute to file it, I can only believe this is a delaying tactic," Roy Greenwood, one of the attorneys who represented Graves on appeal to the 5th Circuit, told the daily. And "time keeps clicking on," said Graves' attorney Jay W. Burnett.

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