District Court Judge To Decide If Public Defender’s Office Can Get Involved In Dale Eaton Death Sentence Case
A Natrona County District Court Judge is trying to determine if the Wyoming Public Defender's Office, can represent a man who used to be Wyoming's only death row inmate.
The case involves 70 year old Dale Eaton, who was sentenced to death in 2004, for the 1988 murder of Lisa Marie Kimmel.
In November 2014, U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson overturned the death sentence, but gave Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen an opportunity to re-argue for it.
Recently, a U.S. Appeals Court ordered Judge Johnson to determine whether Blonigen followed instructions on getting legal counsel for Eaton in a timely fashion.
Earlier this week, Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey heard arguments on if the state public defender's office can represent Eaton, if a rehearing on the death sentence takes place.
The PA's office is inquiring if one of Eaton's lawyers, who has represented Eaton in federal appeals court since 2009, can be involved, even though he does not have a license to practice law in Wyoming, plus there's also issues regarding attorney costs.
Eaton's murder conviction is not being challenged.
The death sentence was overturned when Judge Johnson ruled that Eaton’s state defense team in 2004, failed to present information to the jury about his tortured background, to give jurors reason to consider sparing his life.