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Court: Inmate cannot change court-appointed lawyer

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court says a death row inmate can’t change his court-appointed appeals lawyer because he didn’t like the lawyer’s defense tactics.

The justices on Monday turned away the appeal from Kenneth Clair, who was sentenced to death in California in 1987 for burglary and murder.

Clair wanted to change his federal public defender in 2005 because he says they were trying to stop his execution instead of trying to prove his innocence. A federal judge denied his request but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision.

The justices ruled unanimously that the appeals court’s decision was incorrect

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that Clair’s request came just as a judge was about to make a final ruling so any change would have been too late.

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