NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A New Orleans police officer who ordered a hit on a woman should not get the death penalty because of prosecution errors and misconduct, his attorneys argued.
Len Davis -- found guilty of ordering the 1994 murder of Kim Groves, who had filed a police brutality complaint against him -- should instead get life in prison, his attorneys argued before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Davis and hit man Paul "Cool" Hardy -- found to have carried out the execution-style shooting -- were sentenced to death in 1996 for conspiracy and violation of Groves' civil rights.
Their sentences were overturned after the appeals court found evidence of tampering with a federal witness, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.
Davis's attorneys argued Wednesday the jurors who decided his death sentence also incorrectly concluded he posed a danger to other prisoners.
They said the jurors disregarded evidence that Davis was a "model" inmate for 11 years, The Times-Picayune reported.
But Judge Catharina Haynes, part of a three-judge panel, asked if Davis's potential danger to fellow prisoners should be looked at solely based on his behavior in prison while awaiting appellate court decisions.
Haynes observed that the murder of Grove itself spoke to the danger Davis posed, The Times-Picayune said.
Plans for Hardy's sentencing are awaiting a ruling by U.S. Judge Ginger Berrigan on whether Hardy is mentally retarded and therefore not eligible for the death penalty.
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