Blog of Rights

Defending an Innocent Man on Death Row

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 4:11pm
On October 24, 2007, at a hearing before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Brian Stull of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project will argue on behalf of Max Soffar, an innocent man on Texas's death row. The CPP, with the Texas Innocence Network (TIN), will try to overturn Soffar's conviction in the capital murder case of four victims shot during an armed robbery in a Houston bowling alley in 1980.

Brian will argue that Max Soffar's trial was unfair because the judge did not allow evidence that another man confessed to committing the murders, and that this man committed a series of highly similar robbery-murders in Tennessee.

The ACLU and TIN will also argue that Soffar was denied his constitutional rights when the trial court refused to allow him to show that media reports on the offense contained all of the details in his false confession. Soffar's confession contradicts the account of the sole surviving witness and other reliable evidence. In 1981, Soffar was convicted and sentenced to death based upon this confession, but a federal court overturned his conviction in 2004 because his trial lawyers failed to argue that Soffar's confession contradicted the other evidence in the case.

An overview of the case, plus the legal briefs and press releases, can be found on the ACLU website.

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