Georgia just set a date Dec. 9 to execute a prisoner named Robert Wayne Holsey, whom Philly death penalty lawyer and essayist Marc Bookman describes as “a low-functioning man with a tortured past.” Yeah, weve heard that before, but heres the thing: Andy Prince, the lawyer the court appointed to represent Holsey was a fucking unbelievable mess–a chronic, severe alcoholic who was stealing from his clients and had been arrested for threatening a black neighbor with a gun, saying, “Nigger, get the fuck out of my yard or Ill shoot your black ass.” Prince was white, and Holsey is black.It gets worse. Prince hired an incompetent co-counsel and gave her no direction whatsoever. He failed to hire a mitigation specialist for the sentencing. Thats the person who digs up evidence to support the argument that the client, although guilty, deserves to live. The court provided money for this, but Prince was unable to account for where it went. He failed to do even the most basic gumshoe work. And then, during the trial, he knocked back a quart—a QUART—of vodka every night. He botched it badly.
In this meticulously written essay, Bookman holds our hand through Prince’s downward spiral and demonstrates just how hard it is for a person to win a resentencing—even under jaw-dropping circumstances such as this.”