TALLAHASSEE — A lawyer for serial killer David Gore urged the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday to stay his client's April 12 execution so the justices can seek more information on how a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling will affect the state.
The decision says federal courts must hear a convict's claim of receiving ineffective legal assistance — or none at all — for appeals alleging the inmate's trial lawyers also had been ineffective. Procedural issues cannot be used to block those appeals, the federal justices ruled in the 7-2 opinion. The March 20 ruling is limited to states such as Florida that do not let defendants claim ineffective counsel until after their initial appeals are resolved.
"This issue shouldn't be decided under the exigencies of a death warrant because it affects not just Mr. Gore, not just people on death row, but all criminal defendants in the state of Florida," Martin McClain told the justices on Gore's behalf. Gore, 58, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke. He received the death penalty for the 1984 murder of a 17-year-old in Indian River County. He is serving life sentences for killing five other women.