U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene has set a hearing for Sept. 28 to decide whether to place more material into evidence in the appeal of murderer Ronald Lafferty.
The hearing will take place more than three months after Lafferty's most recent date with death - postponed when his lawyers, Michael D. Esplin and Gary H. Weight, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in June.The petition claims Lafferty was denied a fair trial because of mental illness and because he did not get effective assistance of his lawyer during the trial.
He was convicted in the July 24, 1984, murder of his sister-in-law, Brenda, and her daughter, Erica. His brother, Dan, was convicted of the same crimes but was sentenced to life in prison.
Green called both lawyers into his courtroom Wednesday afternoon to check on the status of the case. Both sides agree that the written record of trial transcripts is now complete, including 13 transcripts or parts of transcripts not available earlier.
The next question to settle, he said, is whether a further evidentiary hearing is needed to supplement the record. Presumably that would include testimony about conversations between Lafferty and his lawyer at that time, which were not a part of the transcripts.
Greene ordered both sides to file memos on the issue by Sept. 16.