SD Inmate Briley Piper Still Fighting Death Sentence With Habeas Appeal In State Court

Jul 27, 2016

Briley Piper
Credit SD Department of Corrections

Death row inmate Briley Piper was back in court last week in Deadwood. Piper is challenging his incarceration in the South Dakota State Penitentiary, saying his legal counsel was insufficient and he should have been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea.

Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald says the hearing lasted all day July 21.

"At the conclusion of the hearing, a transcript of the hearing was ordered, and the judge gave us basically 60 days from last Thursday to produce our briefs to the court," Fitzgerald said. "Then reply briefs are due 15 days after that, so at that point the judge will issue a decision."

Briley Piper and two c0-defendants murdered Chester Allen Poage on March 13, 2000. Piper pleaded guilty in January 2001 and was sentenced to die. He appealed that death penalty, and in July 2011 he had a sentencing-phase trial in Rapid City. The jury unanimously sentenced him to death.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld Piper's conviction and sentencing. Piper is still exhausting remedies under state law. If he fails to find relief there, he can start the federal appeals process.