Mark Christeson Execution Stayed
Mark Christeson, 35, was facing lethal injection at the state prison in Bonne Terre on October 29th. In a remarkable intervention, the U.S. Supreme Court halted his execution, citing concerns about the effectiveness of his legal counsel. His appeal to the Supreme Court raised several concerns about his legal representation, including the failure of his attorneys to meet a 2005 deadline to file for a federal appeal hearing. Where capital defendants receive poor legal help, the system of justice falters. The 2012 ABA Assessment of the Death Penalty in Missouri found similar errors and problems in the Missouri system. Intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court represents a wake-up call. Missouri’s criminal justice system is not producing defensible results.