In the latest legal salvo between Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and federal capital case defenders, the chief justice said in an opinion last week that a federal defender has created “state-federal gridlock” in one Philadelphia murder case.
Castille said the gridlock was caused because Defender Billy H. Nolas, of the capital habeas unit of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, told the trial court that his client’s federal appeals pending in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were being paused to allow state-court proceedings to go forward on Ernest Porter’s claim under Brady v. Maryland that he could possibly impeach a prosecution witness.
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