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(Yanik Chauvin)

The Third Circuit has approved the use of federal public defenders in state post-conviction relief appeals in an opinion that has the court’s chief judge questioning why the state would see a problem with additional resources from the federal government.

The court’s ruling June 12 concurrently addressed seven cases in which the Eastern and Middle districts of Pennsylvania split as to whether federal defenders were appropriate in the state post-conviction appeals of death-row inmates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found the state’s attempts to disqualify federal defenders were pre-empted by federal law.

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