By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A year's suspension for a Texas death row defense lawyer as punishment for submitting documents late was unwarranted and will interfere with his work for others awaiting execution, a petition signed by about 300 lawyers submitted this week said.
According to the petition, filed in the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overstepped its bounds when it punished attorney David Dow and is seeking his reinstatement.
In handing out its penalty, the appeals court said it had admonished Dow before and its decision to suspend him from practicing before the court was warranted given the nature of the rules violation, according to court papers.
The petition questioned whether Dow filed the documents late, saying he met the mandated 7-day advance filing term in the case of Miguel Paredes, who was executed in October.
The appeals court said the documents should have been filed eight days in advance.
"There is no basis in the law or the fact that would support the severe sanction of suspension for the alleged one day late filing of documents that literally could change the course of whether a person lives or dies," the petition said.
Dow is a University of Houston law professor who has represented more than 100 death row inmates.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alan Crosby)