Attorney argues for 'Night Stalker'

June 7, 2006 at 8:32 PM

LOS ANGELES, June 7 (UPI) -- An attorney for the Los Angeles "Night Stalker" wants the California Supreme Court to throw out the convicted killer's convictions.

Appellate attorney Geraldine S. Russell argued before the justices Tuesday that Richard Ramirez' trial attorneys were incompetent and his convictions for 13 murders should be tossed out, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Ramirez, who is on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison, earned the "Night Stalker" name during a murder rampage in the mid-1980s, the newspaper said.

He was caught in August 1985 by a group of angry East Los Angeles residents who tackled him. He hired lawyers Arturo and Daniel Hernandez, who had five years of experience in practicing law and had never handled a capital case. The court advised Ramirez to hire qualified attorneys or to request public counsel. He declined, the newspaper said.

Eventually the trial court appointed a more accomplished attorney, Ray G. Clark, to assist the Hernandezes -- but he had to work with the case the Hernandezes had already built, Russell said.

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