The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a new hearing
for an Alabama death row inmate who missed a deadline to appeal when court notices to his lawyers at a big firm in New York were returned unopened.
The court voted 8-1 Wednesday to reverse a federal appeals court ruling that cut off appeals for Cory Maples.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her opinion for the court that Maples had been abandoned by his lawyers at the Sullivan and Cromwell firm when they left for new jobs and neglected to tell the local court or their client. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.
Maples was convicted for the 1995 murder of two Stacy Alan Terry and Barry Dewayne Robinson II, with whom he had been drinking heavily. Court records showed that Maples took a .22-caliber rifle in his Decatur, Ala., home and shot both men twice in the head, execution-style. He later confessed to police.