High Court won’t consider Tennessee death row inmate’s case

From the WMC archives: Death row inmate Tony Carruthers speaks for the 1st time

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear the case of a Tennessee death row inmate who claimed his rights were violated when he was forced to represent himself at trial.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it wouldn’t hear the case of Tony Von Carruthers. Carruthers and an accomplice were arrested in 1994 and charged with robbing, kidnapping and murdering three people by burying them alive.

Carruthers went through several lawyers. Some asked to withdraw from the case after Carruthers threatened them.

Eventually the judge overseeing Carruthers' case told him that if he couldn't reconcile with his most recent lawyer he'd have to represent himself. After further threats, the judge told Carruthers he was responsible for his own defense, with two lawyers acting as advisers.

State and federal courts upheld that decision.