Divided Florida court orders attorney to represent death row inmate who wants to be executed


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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — A divided Florida Supreme Court is ruling public defenders must continue to represent a death row inmate even though James Robertson says he wants to be executed.

Robertson, who has been in prison for three decades, was sentenced to death in 2012 for killing his prison cellmate.

Robertson's attorneys want permission to withdraw from the case because Robertson does not want to challenge his sentence.

But in a 4-3 ruling the court said that the attorneys must continue to represent Robertson during his appeals. The majority stated that it would be a "serious threat" to the state's death penalty process to let the attorneys withdraw.

Justice Charles Canady in his dissent argued the court was infringing on Robertson's rights to decide whether or not he wants to appeal his sentence.

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