A group of Texas attorneys teamed with one of the biggest names at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in a fight to block the execution of Bobby Moore, a 59-year-old man whose death-penalty case hinges on whether he is intellectually disabled and therefore cannot be executed.
Lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright provided pro bono representation, assisting Skadden litigation partner Cliff Sloan in clinching a major victory for Moore Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the case are Norton Rose Houston partners Anne Rodgers and Warren Huang, who teamed with associate Nicole Lynn and Dallas counterpart Philip Tarpley for the case that has captured national attention.
Rodgers has been with the firm’s Houston office since 1990, handling a national and international practice focused on complex and novel commercial matters. Her practice includes class actions, derivative suits, securities fraud, business torts and contracts.
Huang handles appeals at federal at state levels, while Lynn, a former Wall Street analyst, specializes in representing financial institutions. Tarpley is a member of Norton Rose’s commercial litigation, antitrust and competition group, where he handles commercial disputes and arbitrations.
The team celebrated the high court’s decision.
“We greatly appreciate the important ruling from the Supreme Court, and we are very pleased that justice will be done for Bobby Moore,” said Sloan, counsel of record for Moore.
The high court, which in 2002 barred execution of mentally disabled people, this week issued a 6-3 per curiam decision siding with Moore for the second time, and disagreeing with the standards the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals used to determine intellectual disability.
Moore has spent about 39 years on death row for shooting elderly store clerk James McCarble during an armed robbery in Houston in 1980. But court records show a litany of social and mental difficulties, including an inability to perform basic math or understand time or the days of the week.
His attorneys in Moore v. Texas have long argued that Moore has adaptive deficits and limited intellectual functioning, urging the state to spare his life.
Moore has had some powerful allies along the way.
In 2018, the American Bar Association filed an amicus brief arguing that the Texas appellate court had ignored the U.S. Supreme Court mandate. It urged the high court to reverse the state appellate panel.
And then late last year a new twist: Prosecutors sided with Moore, as the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, under District Attorney Kim Ogg, conceded he suffered a mental disability. Before the latest ruling, the Texas Attorney General’s Office stepped in to pursue the death sentence.