Federal judge changes mind, opens hearing for condemned killer Ron Lafferty
Weeks said she spent all Thursday contacting her victim advocate at the attorney general's office, a law professor, her state senator and others who she thought could get her into Friday's hearing.
"It's our right to know," she said. "(Lafferty) is having a right to privacy right now. I'm not even sure if that's constitutional."
Weeks said there's a different feeling when family members attend Lafferty's hearings. The court is more respectful, she said. But she said it's daunting to stay with his appeals year after year.
"We're rehashing and rehashing things that have been settled and taken care of. Obviously, he has some challenges, but we've already addressed those challenges. I haven't seen any new evidence about how strange his behavior is," she said.
This is not the first time Ron Lafferty's mental capacity has been at issue. It came up during his first trial, as well in his state court appeals.
A federal appeals court overturned his conviction in 1991 because the wrong standard was used to determine his mental competency for trial. He underwent another round of psychological assessments and a state judge found him able to stand trial again in 1996.
A jury again convicted him and the judge sentenced him to die. Lafferty chose execution by firing squad.
The Utah Supreme Court denied Lafferty's request for a new trial in 2007. The state's high court based its decision, in part, on the question of whether he was mentally competent in 1985. The justices concluded that given several mental evaluations, Lafferty was competent.
The ruling exhausted his state appeal options, and he turned to federal court to stop his execution.
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