PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Richard Poplawski's attorneys wasted little time appealing his conviction and sentencing for the murder of three Pittsburgh police officers.
In a 15-page document, Poplawski's appeals attorney, Carrie Allman, argues that Judge Jeffrey Manning committed numerous errors during the trial.
Specifically, the defense says the judge admitted as evidence things he should not have, such as Poplawski's statements to officers in the hospital after he asked for counsel, information taken from Poplawski's computer in violation of his free speech right to post on racist websites, and the 911 tape in which Poplawski used racial epithets.
"The Commonwealth introduced this evidence simply because the jury would find these beliefs morally reprehensible, not because the evidence was relevant to establish any of the crimes charged," Allman said in her motion.
Defense attorneys said the only point in this information was to inflame the jury against Poplawski.
"These racial epithets and website have no connection or rational relationship to the charges at issue and had no effect other than to prejudice the jury and inflame their passions," Allman said.
Poplawski's lawyers also said the death penalty should be set aside because it is cruel and unusual punishment and no longer appropriate in a "decent and matured society."
The defense argued Poplawski deserves a new penalty phase because prosecutors prejudiced the jury with Poplawski's racist and white supremacist activities, along with improper victim impact evidence from the families of the slain police officers.
That included video of the memorial services for the officers.
The District Attorney's Office, which filed its own motion for delivery of evidence from the defense, had no comment on the appeals motion.
This is the first of many appeals that are expected in the Poplawski case.
Once he's officially sentenced in September, his attorney said she may file with some additional grounds for appeal.
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