Appeal seeks to halt Calif. execution

Feb. 7, 2004 at 10:35 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- An inmate scheduled to be executed at San Quentin State Prison on Tuesday has filed an appeal in a federal appeals court seeking to block his death penalty.

Attorneys for Kevin Cooper filed the appeal with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Friday evening, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

The appeal seeks to halt the execution and for permission to file a second habeas corpus petition challenging Cooper's conviction for murdering two adults and two children in San Bernardino County in 1983. Cooper claims he is innocent of the murders.

Federal law on death penalty appeals normally allows only one such petition.

The Ninth Circuit Court turned down Cooper's first federal habeas corpus petition in 2001, filed after he lost a series of state court appeals.

Cooper's new filing contends that state prosecutors and investigators used false evidence and suppressed evidence that could support his claim of innocence.

State prosecutors have disputed Cooper's claims in previous court filings, saying the evidence against him is overwhelming. Cooper has lost all previous appeals in state and federal courts.

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