Inmate’s lawyers: State ‘dismissive’ of evidence

Attorneys for Mississippi death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop said Tuesday the state has a “dismissive attitude” about concerns that the prisoner’s former lawyer intentionally sabotaged his appeal.

The new attorneys have made serious allegations about the legal work of Robert “Bob” Ryan, the former director of a state agency responsible for representing indigent death row inmates on appeal.

The new attorneys also have accused Ryan of withholding evidence of mental disabilities in the first appeal of Earl Wesley Berry, who was executed May 21. Ryan has not responded to messages left by The Associated Press.

“The state wants the court to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” Jim Craig, one of Bishop’s new attorneys, said Tuesday. “Dale Bishop should have a real appeal with lawyers who are doing their job. Otherwise, the whole criminal justice system is just a charade.”

Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday in court papers that condemned inmates have no constitutional right to post-conviction representation so claims of ineffective appellate counsel are without merit. Hood said the execution should not be delayed.

Bishop’s new lawyers fired back in a 10-page motion Tuesday, saying the state’s response “is as offensive as it is chilling.”

“Confronted with overwhelming evidence that Bishop’s prior post-conviction counsel abandoned his duties, deliberately sabotaging his client’s case, the state does little more than respond ‘so what?'” Bishop’s attorneys argued.

A spokeswoman for Hood declined comment Tuesday, saying the attorney general’s office would respond in court.

Sun Herald