Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s order last week delaying the scheduled execution of Tommy Arthur in Alabama, the Innocence Project called on Governor Bob Riley to order DNA testing in the case that can resolve serious questions about Arthur’s guilt or innocence.
Last week, the Innocence Project launched a web-based campaign to mobilize people throughout Alabama and nationwide
to write to Riley and call for DNA testing in the case.
An editorial in today’s Birmingham news echoes the call for testing and asks Riley to act now while the execution is already delayed.
Testing the DNA isn't going to hold up the execution any longer than it is already being held up. A test that confirms Arthur's guilt will merely remove one less concern when states get a green light to resume executions. A test that raises questions about Arthur's guilt will indeed open a whole new can of worms – but it's a can that should be opened before Arthur is put to death for a crime he insists he did not commit.
Riley is called on to make many difficult decisions as governor. But this isn't a difficult one. Riley should order DNA testing for any Death Row inmate who disputes his guilt and whose case involved evidence that could be screened.
Read today’s full editorial
. (Birmingham News, 12/10/07)
It isn’t too late to join the effort. If you haven’t yet sent an email to Gov. Riley
you can do so now by following this link
After you send an email, write to your friends, family and contacts and ask them to take action, too. DNA testing wasn’t available at the time of Arthur’s trial, but now this technology can help reveal the truth and ensure that Alabama does not execute an innocent man.