"Here, Mr. Howell appears to have colorable claims that both his trial attorney, who fabricated death threats to be excused from representing Mr. Howell, and his initial habeas attorney, who did not even contact Mr. Howell until after his federal habeas deadline had passed, were incompetent, ineffective, and deeply unprofessional. I continue to believe that it is unconstitutional and immoral for death row inmates to lose a fundamental constitutional right because of their attorney's errors, especially when they are as egregious as those we deal with here." (Judge Rosemary Barkett)
In short: Paul Howell got screwed. As we related earlier this week, Howell was convicted of killing a state trooper using a pipe bomb that was intended for a witness in an unrelated case. He's probably not a nice guy. He is, however, guaranteed a fair trial and a habeas appeal. Arguably, he received neither.
And thanks to the intricacies of habeas procedure, he won't, unless the Supreme Court steps in.