An appeal notice filed on behalf of a convicted murderer who tortured two young siblings was dismissed Monday by a federal judge, after the defendant told him he did not want to challenge his convictions or death sentences and had not given his attorneys permission to do so.
U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge determined Monday that Joseph Edward Duncan III understands the consequences of waiving his constitutional right to have his case reviewed by appellate courts. Lodge reminded Duncan that he has until Nov. 28 to notify the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if he changes his mind.
"You've been unequivocal in your desire that you do not want an appeal in this matter," Lodge said during Monday's hearing.
Duncan, 45, was given three death penalty sentences and three life terms in August for the 2005 kidnapping, sexual abuse and torture of 9-year-old Dylan Groene and his 8-year-old sister Shasta, as well as Dylan's murder.
Killed family in Idaho
Duncan has also been convicted and sentenced to six life terms in state court for the bloody rampage at the children's Coeur d'Alene home. After staking out the home, Duncan broke in and bludgeoned the children's older brother, Slade, 13, their mother, Brenda Groene, and her fiance, Mark McKenzie, before whisking Dylan and Shasta away to remote campsites in western Montana. Shasta survived.
Last week, Duncan's legal team, serving in a standby role since he decided to represent himself, filed a routine notice of appeal with the district court. Duncan quickly sent the judge a letter stating he didn't want to appeal any part of his case. Federal prosecutors responded with a motion asking the judge to have the defense notice dismissed.
During repeated questioning Monday by the judge, Duncan said he did not give lawyers permission to file the notice.
"Do you want to appeal this matter or do you not?" Lodge asked.
"I do not," Duncan said.
Lodge also determined that Duncan is mentally competent to answer those questions, and that nothing had changed since Duncan was ruled mentally competent earlier this year to take part in the sentencing phase of his case.