AM Update
8:03 am
Wed March 21, 2012

AM Update: The Supreme Court and Texas Death Row, Pro Day at UT, Ron Paul’s Illinois Results

Supreme Court Decision Affects Death Row Inmates?

Two Texas death row inmates, including one who is set to be executed next week, hope a ruling yesterday from the U.S. Supreme Court will give them another chance to prove their innocence or that their crimes don’t warrant the death penalty.

KUT’s reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, reports the high court’s ruling in a case out of Arizona, Martinez v. Ryan, could expand appeals access for inmates:

The nation’s highest court ruled that the failure of initial state habeas lawyers to argue that their client’s trial counsel was ineffective should not prevent the defendant from making that argument later on.

Habeas lawyers investigate issues that could or should have been raised during a defendant’s original trial. Under current law, claims that original trial lawyers were ineffective have to be made from the beginning of an appeals process to be valid later on.

Although the ruling applies to federal courts, some believe it should be applied to state criminal courts.

Pro Day for UT Longhorns

Pro Day is a time for eligible members of a university’s football squad to showcase their skills to NFL scouts. Thirteen UT Longhorns and one ex-player, John Chiles, showed off their verticals, broad jumps, 40-yard sprints and more during Texas’ turn in the Pro Day spotlight Tuesday.

The burnt orange crew exhibited their talents in front of representatives from more than 30 teams in the NFL, according to Texassports.com.

During a press conference, head football coach Mack Brown had this to say about UT’s Pro Day:

I was asked why we have Pro Days. Number one, the NFL decides who goes to the Combine. We don't have any input…But we have the Pro Day to help those guys that were not invited to the Combine, have their NFL Combine. And we do it here. We set it up just like the Combine. It's run exactly like the Combine to give them the same opportunities. And last year 59 guys that were not invited to the Combine made a pro team.

According to CBSsports.com, the Longhorns have three athletes projected to go early in the draft: Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall and offensive linebackers Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson.

Ron Paul's Illinois Results

Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished third in Illinois' Republican primary last night, coming in behind winner Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, but beating Newt Gingrich.

Less than a quarter of registered Illinois voters actually came out for the primary –just 24%, reflecting a 70-year turnout low for a presidential primary there, according to CBS Chicago.  Among those who did, 46.7% put their support behind Romney, garnering him 43 more delegates.

Romney currently has 563 total according to the Washington Post. That's 300 more delegates than the next candidate behind him, Santorum. Candidates need 1,144 total to win the party nomination); Paul currently has 50.