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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal judge is asking the state Supreme Court to clarify what rules were in effect 15 years ago in order rule on an appeal by a death-row inmate.
It's a procedural issue that must be decided as part of Ronnie Lee Gardner's appeal of his death sentence.
US District Judge Tena Campbell says she will not rule on the merits of Gardner's contention that the trial jury were improperly instructed in his capital murder case until she can determine whether state law in 1990 would have allowed the issue.
It's the second time the procedural issue has been submitted to the state's highest court, which rejected without comment an earlier.
Today, Campbell suggested the lawyers provide her by Monday a new inquiry to be sent to the state Supreme Court.
Gardner is on death row for killing attorney Michael Burdell and wounding a bailiff during a 1985 escape attempt.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)