Even Judge Merritt could not find any grounds to issue a writ of habeas corpus to Jesse Cowans. In a published decision issued yesterday, Cowans v. Bagley, the Sixth Circuit affirmed Cowans' conviction and death sentence.
The Senior Circuit Judge, who is one of the Court's strongest defender's of individual rights, has been disinclined to affirm death sentences. But Cowans -- who murdered a defenseless old lady and then forbade his attorney from offering any mitigating evidence -- presented no possible hook on which to hang an argument.
Judge Merritt wrote a concurrence, seemingly explaining that his hands were tied.