Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Death row Briton Linda Carty pleas to US Supreme Court


Linda Carty's emotional video appeal, courtesy of Reprieve

A British grandmother on death row in Texas is lodging a last-ditch appeal with the US Supreme Court.

Linda Carty, 51, faces execution within months unless the court agrees to rehear her abduction and murder case.

A video plea in support of Carty, who was born on St Kitts to parents from the British territory of Anguilla, will be submitted to the court.

Campaigners say her conviction in 2002 for the murder of a 25-year-old woman was "catastrophically flawed".

'Ineffective counsel'

The appeal from her legal team will be made alongside a document from the British government outlining its concerns over her sentence.

Carty herself speaks in the video submission, saying: "If I have to die, I pray that my family and my mum and my daughter will not look and feel ashamed of their daughter or their mother because I was guilty, but realises the state of Texas has failed me."

We hope the Supreme Court will reopen this case, in the interests of justice and for the sake of Linda's heart-broken family
Clare Algar

The request for a retrial is based around claims she was given an inadequate defence lawyer during the original trial and that the UK government was blocked from providing support.

The Foreign Office has previously complained of "ineffective counsel" at a court hearing in support of Carty.

Clare Algar, executive director of human rights group Reprieve, said: "We hope the Supreme Court will reopen this case, in the interests of justice and for the sake of Linda's heart-broken family."

Carty lost an earlier appeal in September when the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans opted not to overturn her conviction.

She was put on death row over the kidnap and murder of Joana Rodriguez, who was seized with her four-day-old son by three men on 16 May 2001.

The baby was later found unharmed in a car, but Rodriguez was found suffocated with duct-tape on her mouth and a plastic bag over her head.

Mountain View Unit
Ms Carty is on death row at Mountain View Unit women's prison, Texas.

Carty has always maintained she was framed by three men in revenge for her work as an informant with a Drug Enforcement Agency.

It is claimed Texas authorities and her defence lawyer neglected to inform the British Consulate that she held a UK dependent territory passport.

Paul Lynch, the British consul general in Texas, said this represented a "terrible failure" that led to her death sentence.

Her appeal lawyer Michael Goldberg also hit out at the "outrageous" failings in his client's case.

He said: "There is no question that the Supreme Court should take this case and she should be given a new trial."

Crime writer Martina Cole, a supporter of prisoner's rights, has joined Reprieve's campaign for justice in the case.

Ms Cole said: "Linda Carty has been failed by the very system that is supposed to protect vulnerable people.

"It is clear that she had poor representation, that the case against her was flawed and that her conviction is unsafe. That is why I am supporting the campaign against her death sentence."

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