Death row inmates deserve DNA testing


In the wake of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing lethal injections to continue in Kentucky – and therefore nationwide – Alabama authorities have asked for an execution date for inmate Tommy Arthur, who is seeking DNA testing on evidence that could prove his innocence.  The Innocence Project is assisting in his case.

An editorial in yesterday’s Tuscaloosa News expresses the regret – shared by many in Alabama and around the world – that the pause in executions didn’t bring about a reexamination of the death penalty and the possibility of executing an innocent person.

Vengeance can be the only explanation for the state's eagerness to resume executions as soon as possible after last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lethal injections do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. We have had almost two centuries of legal executions in Alabama. In all of that time, no one has shown that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

We had hoped, naively perhaps, that Alabama's leaders would use the national hiatus on the death penalty as a time to launch a re-examination of the state's flawed capital punishment procedure. That won't happen.

For now, at least, vengeance and political expedience have trumped science and conscience.

Read the full story here

. (Tuscaloosa News, 04/23/08)

Advocates for sound science and fair justice have sent thousands of email to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley urging him to order DNA testing for Arthur before executing a man who may be innocent.

Read more about Arthur’s case and send an email to Riley here


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