Workman loses appeal in federal appeals court

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Death row inmate Philip Workman lost his appeal for a stay of execution before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, but his scheduled execution this week has already been delayed.

Workman, of Memphis, was granted a temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell on Friday to delay the execution scheduled for Wednesday at 1 a.m. CDT.

In his federal appeal, Workman claimed that he was convicted on perjured testimony and that the state withheld evidence that would have established Workman's innocence.

In a 2-1 opinion filed Friday, the court ruled that Workman's claims of fraud by the Tennessee Attorney General were vague and that he had little to no likelihood of success in showing the court abused its discretion.

Senior Judge Eugene E. Siler Jr. wrote that because Workman testified at the trial that he killed Memphis police Lt. Ronald Oliver during a 1981 fast food restaurant robbery, he "cannot seriously contend that his allegations have any bearing on a claim of actual innocence."

Workman claims that Oliver was killed by other officers during the shootout and an eyewitness, Harold Davis, who testified at the trial that he saw Workman shoot Oliver has since recanted his testimony.

Siler wrote that Workman has not shown that the testimony was materially false and cited the rejection of these claims by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Workman won his claim in district court that Tennessee's new death penalty guidelines could still cause unconstitutional pain and suffering.

The temporary restraining order expires on May 14, when another court hearing on the matter is scheduled. Workman has one more appeal pending with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)