In May of 2008, Randall Mays, who is now 54 years old, was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering two Henderson County deputies in Texas, according to the Athens Review. Mays reportedly fired shots that killed the deputies as they responded to a residential disturbance in Payne Springs in May of 2007. The shots fired by May took the lives of HCSO Investigator Paul Habelt and Henderson County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Tony Ogburn. Another deputy was also seriously injured in the shooting.
In September of 2009, the first appeal of Mays’ death sentence was appealed by his attorney. One year later, another appeal was filed claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. Mays’ attorneys claimed that the death penalty was unconstitutional because Mays is mentally ill. An individual who is sentenced to death in Texas is entitled to an automatic appeal to the Austin Criminal Appeals Court under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Ultimately, the first round of appeals for Mays were rejected and his execution date was scheduled for August 23 of 2011. All of the defendant’s state appeals had been exhausted, but Mays was informed that an appeal to federal court would be the only method of preventing his execution. A stay of execution was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas so that the appeal could proceed, although the U.S. Supreme court had denied his appeal earlier. On Monday, July 7, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused Mays’ appeal of his death sentence.
There are many reasons an individual’s sentence may be appealed, depending on the defendant’s state of residence. While there is no death penalty in the state of Michigan, those sentenced for violent or serious crimes may wish to appeal their sentence or even conviction based on such grounds as errors in the criminal justice system, ineffective assistance of counsel, even wrongful conviction. Judges, attorneys, law enforcement, even jurors can make mistakes which may work to the benefit of the defendant. No matter how serious a crime, all people in the U.S. have the right to a fair trial. Sometimes, the process of trying someone for a criminal offense is anything but fair.
If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime or punished in a manner that you feel is unfair, consult with a Michigan criminal appellate attorney who is highly skilled and knowledgeable in the area of appeals.