Supreme Court dismisses Boyer murder conviction appeal - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Supreme Court dismisses Boyer murder conviction appeal

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The Calcasieu District Attorney's Office is claiming a victory after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from a Louisiana man who claimed that most of his seven-year delay between his arrest and murder trial was the result of inadequate funding for paying his court appointed defense attorneys in death penalty cases.

The court ruled in a 5-4 vote Monday to dismiss the appeal of Jonathan Boyer, who eventually was convicted and sentenced to life in the second-degree murder of Bradlee Marsh.

Investigators say Boyer killed Marsh in 2002. The case would not go to trial until 2009.

Boyer's appeal was heard before the Supreme Court in January. Arguing the case for state was Calcasieu Assistant District Attorney Carla Sigler. Sigler told the high court in fact it was Boyer's own attorneys who caused the delay with numerous continuances.

Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier is pleased with the outcome.  

"Basically, the judgement held that the time delays that resulted in approximately seven years in date of offense and date of trial were the result of issues raised by the defense and continued by defense on numerous occasions," said DeRosier.

The Supreme Court stated other delays - like Hurricane Rita - were out of anyone's control.

First Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Killingsworth prosecuted the case and said she was shocked it went all the way to the Supreme Court.

"I was quite surprised. I didn't think we were going to have a problem with anything in regards to time ... And the Supreme Court agreed, too, because they ruled in favor of the state this time as well," said Killingsworth.

Boyer was originally charged with first-degree murder - meaning he could have received the death penalty had he been convicted on that charge. The Calcasieu District Attorney's Office dropped the charge to second-degree murder to move the case to trial.  

The Supreme Court also noted: If the defense had not sought and obtained continuances, the trial might well have commenced at a much earlier date and might have reached a conclusion far less favorable to the defense.

"This was a big decision in favor of prosecutors all over the country because this as the court eluded to in this case - this granting of this writ - in other words, accepting of this case by the United States Supreme Court, was improvident. That means had we known all the facts in the case, we wouldn't have accepted this to begin with," explained DeRosier.

You may remember the case also received a lot of national attention because Justice Clarence Thomas broke his seven-year silence from the bench during the questioning phase when he made a joke in the proceedings.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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