US Supreme Court Denies Appeal of Oklahoma Death Row Inmate

Jan 15, 2020

Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez can be scheduled for execution after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal in a murder case.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the appeal of an Oklahoma death row inmate who was convicted of killing his common-law wife.

The Oklahoman first reported that the high court’s ruling on Monday that denied without comment the appeal of Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez, 64.

Cuesta-Rodriguez was convicted and sentenced to death for the fatal shooting in 2003 of Olimpia Cardina Fisher at the south Oklahoma City home they shared.

A federal public defender representing Cuesta-Rodriguez did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday.

Cuesta-Rodriguez had argued that Oklahoma law requiring indigent defendants in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties be represented by the counties’ public defenders office denied him effective assistance of counsel on his first appeal.

He also argued that during closing arguments, prosecutors improperly described how the jury should consider mitigating circumstances in the case.

The court’s rejection of the appeal makes Cuesta-Rodriguez eligible to be scheduled for execution, although Oklahoma has not put an inmate to death since executions were halted in 2015 following a series of bungled lethal injections.