Posted on 6/29/20

The execution of a six death row inmate in Texas has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The inmate, Edward Lee Busby, had been set for execution on May 6th, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution for 60 days. The inmate was convicted of abducting a 77-year-old college professor and suffocating him in 2004. Law enforcement later recovered the body of the victim in Oklahoma. 

The order did not specifically mention the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Busby’s defense lawyer argued that the personnel and judges who carry out the inmate’s execution could be at risk of getting the virus if the execution proceeds. The appeals court also delayed three other executions that the court had scheduled this year. Local Texas judges stayed two other judges. 

The Process of Appealing Criminal Convictions in Texas

Every defendant who is convicted of a crime in Texas is entitled to an appeal. Those who are facing the death penalty have a right to appeal directly to the Court of Criminal Appeals. In other cases, the appeal will go to the Court of Appeals. 

Defendants need to act quickly after a conviction to keep their right to appeal intact. In most cases, defendants must file an appeal within 30 days of their conviction. If the defendant does not file the appeal in a timely manner, he or she might lose the right to appeal the conviction permanently. 

When the defendant appeals, he or she is usually eligible for bond while awaiting the appeal, but only if the sentence was less than 10 years in prison. For more serious offenses, such as those involving sexual conduct or violence, the defendant will not be allowed to remain on bond during the appeals process. 

How do Appeals Courts Make Decisions?

Texas appellate courts review the record of the trial to determine if a legal error occurred. The initial criminal appeal will go to one of 14 different appellate courts unless the case is a death penalty case. A panel of three judges and the courts of appeal will hear both civil and criminal appeals. 

When a legal error is significant enough, the defendant could be entitled to a new criminal trial. The appellate process is much different than the trial court process. For example, defendants cannot submit new evidence during the appeals process. Instead, the appellate court will review the actions taken by the trial judge to decide whether the rulings were fair. 

What Happens if the Defendant Wins an Appeal?

When a Texas appellate court decides that the trial court made an error, or that the trial judge wrongly included or excluded evidence, the case will return for a new trial. After the appellate court makes a ruling, the prosecution will have the option of dismissing the case or pursuing a new trial. 

Contact Our Flower Mound Criminal Appeal Lawyers Today

If you have recently been convicted of a crime in Flower Mound, Texas, you might have a right to a criminal appeal. Contact our experienced criminal appeals lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation. 

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office