Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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MISSED DEADLINE -- Gregoire's expectation of reminder about appeal deadline is hypocritical

Editor, The Times:

I read with dismay Attorney General Christine Gregoire's suggestion that the opposing counsel in a lawsuit had the obligation to call her staff and remind them of the 30-day deadline for filing an appeal ("Gregoire faults the other side," news story, June 16).

How hypocritical! Gregoire's own lawyers regularly argue in court that pro se prisoners are barred from filing writs of habeas corpus or other post-conviction actions challenging their incarceration because of missed deadlines. Has Gregoire, or any of her attorneys, ever called a prisoner and reminded him that the deadline for filing a post-conviction writ is about to expire?

Gregoire clearly has a double standard - one for indigent prisoners without access to lawyers, who may spend their lives in prison because they miss deadlines, and another standard for her own lawyers.

In the early 1990s, in the case of Coleman v. Thompson, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a death-row inmate to be executed because his lawyer missed a filing deadline by three days. Until our attorney general lobbies for the change of arcane procedural rules that allow for such injustice, she has no business whining because her lawyers erred.Neil M. Fox, Seattle

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