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Death Row Inmate with Incompetent Disbarred Attorney Scheduled to Be Executed in Texas
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Summary: A death row inmate with allegedly fraudulent attorneys may die on July 27th, despite his plea for clemency. 

Death Row inmate Taichin Preyor is scheduled to be executed in Texas on July 27th. He was convicted of murdering Jami Tackett, and while his guilt is not being questioned, Preyor is seeking clemency because he said he did not receive a fair trial.

  
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Preyor’s first trial occurred in 2004, and according to Mother Jones, his court-appointed lawyers did not investigate his troubled childhood, which may have affected the jury’s sentence of the death penalty. He filed an appeal, and during that process, he was given an attorney with no experience defending death row clients and another attorney who was disbarred for incompetence.

Preyor now has a new defense team, who said that his old lawyers defrauded the court.

“He has never had capable counsel make the best argument available,” Preyor’s new court-appointed attorney Cate Stetson said to Mother Jones. 

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Preyor’s defense team said that the Constitution guarantees defendants the right to a fair trial and effective counsel, and Preyor was not given that. The team is asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole for clemency in the hopes that his death sentence will be removed and the possible opportunity to retry his case where they can show the jury more information about his troubled past.

Preyor, now 46, was sexually abused by a family member and physically and emotionally abused by his mother and father. When he was 14, he began to abuse drugs and alcohol, and his addiction continued into his adulthood.



Preyor was convicted of the 2004 death of Jamie Tackett, 20. A drugged out Preyor slashed and stabbed the young woman during a botched burglary at her apartment, and he also wounded her boyfriend.

Preyor is scheduled to die on July 27, and on Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denied his application for a stay of execution.

His attorney Stetson said that if Preyor is executed that it is “fundamentally wrong” because of his circumstance.

“No matter how you feel about the death penalty, it’s fundamentally wrong to put a man to death when he was essentially represented by a pair of fraudsters,” Stetson said.

Stetson said that Preyor’s previous attorneys never brought up his bad childhood, which may have convinced the jury to not choose capital punishment. Instead, his team claimed he came from a “functional family.”

When Preyor had sought an appeal, his mother Margaret Mendez hired a private attorney named Philip Jefferson, who was based in Los Angeles. Jefferson told Mendez that he had worked with Johnnie Cochran, and he said that since he was retired he would need another attorney to help with the case. He recommended Brandy Estelle, and the two charged Mendez $20,000 for their services.

But unbeknownst to Mendez, Jefferson had hidden the fact that he was actually disbarred and that’s why he needed Estelle. Jefferson was disbarred in 1990 for failing to sufficiently represent his clients, and Estelle had no prior experience with death row clients.  During the appeals period of 2008-2013, Mendez reportedly paid thousands of dollars more than the agreed upon $20,000 fee, and she told the courts that she believed Jefferson was using the money on his gambling addiction instead of representing her son.

Even crazier, the inexperienced Estelle reportedly used Wikipedia to brush up on capital work. Allegedly one of her files was a Wikipedia print out, which she had written “Research” on.

Fed up with Jefferson and Estelle, Mendez reached out to another lawyer Richard Ellis, who declined to take on the case but her gave her the news that Jefferson was actually disbarred. She promptly fired both attorneys, and in March of 2015, the court appointed Preyor a new attorney, Hilary Sheard. Over two years later, Stetson and another lawyer joined Preyor’s defense.

Source: Mother Jones

What do you think of Preyor’s case? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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