Utah Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Franklin Appeal
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A man convicted of murdering two black men who were jogging with white women was improperly tried in both state and federal courts for the same crimes, a defense attorney told the Utah Supreme Court on Friday.
Joseph Paul Franklin, 35, an avowed racist, has asked the court to vacate his federal sentence of two life terms for violating the civil rights of the slain men and grant a new trial on state charges of first-degree murder, for which he was given two life terms to be served after the federal sentence.
Franklin was convicted of killing Ted Fields, 20, and David Martin, 18, who were shot by a sniper as they jogged with two white women in August, 1980.
Last June, Franklin was charged with aggravated assault in the 1978 wounding of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. The case has not come to trial. Franklin was acquitted in 1982 of wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in a 1980 sniper attack.
Franklin’s attorney, Martin Voerhoef, claims he should not have been tried in both federal and state courts for charges stemming from the same incident.
’This defendant is being required to stand trial twice and in this case the defendant was sentenced twice for the same crime,″ Voerhoef said. ″The essential elements of knowingly killing were central to both the federal and state prosecutions.″
Assistant Utah Attorney General Dave B. Thompson said the state and federal charges were different.
″Given the distinct difference of elements of the state and federal prosecutions, especially in the penalties for different offense, there is no double jeopardy,″ he said.
The state’s highest court did not issue an immediate decision on Franklin’s request.