Supreme Court rejects appeal from Louisiana man on death row

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a Louisiana death row inmate seeking a new sentencing hearing, over a dissent from the three liberal justices.

The court turned away David Brown, who was convicted of killing a prison guard, Capt. David Knapps, during a 1999 escape attempt from the state prison in Angola. Brown argues he is entitled to a reconsideration of his death sentence because prosecutors failed to provide his lawyers with evidence that might have led a jury to spare his life.

Only after the sentencing did prosecutors give Brown’s legal team a confession from a fellow inmate, Barry Edge, that supported Brown’s contention that he was not involved in Knapps’ killing.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that the delay violated Brown’s constitutional rights under a 1963 Supreme Court decision requiring the prosecution to turn over material that would help a defendant’s case.

“At no point in the confession did Edge suggest Brown was involved in the fatal attack; his description of the events leading up to the murder did not mention Brown at all,” Jackson wrote, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Brown had joined a group of prisoners in the escape attempt, but claimed he wasn’t there when Knapps was killed inside a bathroom.

A state judge overturned the death sentence, but the Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated it by a 4-3 vote. That court’s majority said Edge’s statement wasn’t favorable to Brown.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up