MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Supreme Court says inmates convicted of their crimes before 2004 are still entitled to public attorneys when seeking to overturn their convictions, even if attorneys don't believe the legal case has any merit.
The court issued the opinion Friday, after an appeal filed by Charles Crannell who was convicted of killing a Castleton school janitor in 1992. He's filed many appeals over the years and all were rejected.
In 2004, the Legislature passed a law that made it unethical for attorneys to file "frivolous" appeals. But Crannell, who acted as his own lawyer, successfully argued he was entitled to a public attorney because his 1995 conviction was before that date.
Defender General Matthew Valerio says he doesn't know how many inmates will take advantage of the court's decision.
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