A Virginia capital defense lawyer had no recourse in 2006 for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ unexplained cut in his bill from $38,000 to $10,000 for work on a death penalty appeal to the circuit, the Supreme Court and a clemency petition.

So Steven Rosenfield sued the man who signs off on the payments, 4th Circuit’s former Chief Judge William Wilkins, claiming that the cut, without a chance to know why and challenge it, violated his due process rights.

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