A 7th District judge has agreed to seek an extension of the legal deadline for the automatic appeal on behalf of condemned triple-murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades.
But Judge Larry Boyle rejected the motion of defense attorneys to void the state law requiring expedited handling of death penalty appeals.Boyle also ordered Rhoades moved to the main state prison south of Boise pending the resolution of his appeals or the execution of his sentences.
Rhoades faces fourth death sentences, six life prison terms and four 15-year prison sentence extensions for using firearms in the commission of felonies in connection with the winter 1987 slayings of Idaho Falls school teacher Susan Michelbacher and convenience store clerks Nolan Haddon and Stacy Baldwin, both of Blackfoot.
Rhoades challenged the expedited appeal law on grounds that it set a different judicial standard for death penalty cases than for other criminal cases.
But Boyle, citing last month's state Supreme Court decision upholding the death penalty appeal procedure, agreed only to ask the high court to allow 120 days instead of 90 days for making decisions on appeals in death row cases.
Defense attorneys asked for the time limit to begin running after they received the transcripts from the April trial in the Michelbacher slaying.
Boyle also rejected defense motions to delay a hearing in another avenue of appeal and to void three of the four 15-year sentence extensions for firearms use.
The judge said the sentence extensions were justified because each was tied to a separate crime with distinct elements.
Since all the proper appellate papers had been signed, Boyle refused to allow Rhoades to remain in the Bingham County Jail during at least part of the appeals process. He said county jails did not have the appropriate facilities to handle prisoners like Rhoades.