WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear an appeal from a Georgia death row inmate who says lower courts failed to look at lengthy, detailed rulings in his case when turning away a challenge to his sentence.
The justices agreed to take up the appeal from Marion Wilson, who was convicted for his role in killing a state prison guard in 1996.
A state court judge had issued a comprehensive opinion after rejecting Wilson's challenge to his sentence. The Georgia Supreme Court issued only a short, summary opinion upholding the sentence.
Wilson then sought to overturn his sentence in federal court. The federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled 6-5 that it only had to look at the latest summary denial and did not have to review opinions from lower courts.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Wilson despite the fact that state prosecutors agreed with him that federal courts should consider detailed rulings from lower courts in such cases.
One of the dissenting judges said the ruling would set a precedent that would make it less likely for inmates to get their death sentences overturned.
Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said in a brief to the Supreme Court that the state would not oppose the justices reviewing the issue.
Wilson had argued that his lawyer did not effectively represent him during sentencing proceedings.