U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Dylann Roof's Public Defenders Need More Time to Brief

If you've ever known a public defender personally, or worked the job yourself, you probably know it's a thankless, stressful job with a heavy workload. But for the two federal public defenders representing convicted murderer Dylann Roof in his Fourth Circuit Appeal, it's that last part that's really proving to be more challenging than ever anticipated.

The pair of defenders recently filed a motion requesting an extension to the briefing schedule due to the sheer volume of the record and some other, more significant issues. Given the severity of Roof's crime, his death sentence, and the bumpy ride he put the world through by making inflammatory statements throughout the entire process, all eyes are on Roof's newest set of attorneys.

Briefly Briefing the Brief Extension Request

With over 1,000 docket entries and 5,000 pages of transcripts, it's no surprise that after six months the two attorneys are still not finished with the review of the record. Complicating matters, and providing further explanation for the delay -- and justification for the extension -- several items were filed under seal or simply were missing from the record. Nearly 50 sealed entries and 170 docket entries were just plain missing. There may even be more than that missing that the attorneys don't know about, well, because it's not there.

And if you thought matters couldn't get more complicated, remember that we're talking about the defendant who made a request to change his court appointed attorneys because of racism. He expressed no remorse, rejected putting forth obvious and logical arguments that would have shown he has a mental disorder, and seemed to become an even more outspoken white supremacist as his case continued. Many people might not want to see this extension granted, but it may be what justice requires in order for Roof's appeals to be properly exhausted.

Despite the mass of missing and un-reviewed docs, the federal public defenders are only seeking a 90 day extension. The opening brief was due on November 20.

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