It has been nearly two years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Tennessee death row inmate Paul House deserved a new hearing in federal court for the 1984 murder he has always maintained he didn’t commit. A federal judge ruled in December that the state had 180 days to grant him a new trial or release him. Nothing has happened yet. A column in Sunday’s Tennessean calls for authorities to stop delaying a retrial:
State attorneys keep promising they're going to go back to trial. So why haven't they? Probably because they're afraid they'll lose. Much of their evidence has evaporated, witnesses' memories fade, and House's medical condition (though not relevant to the crime) would be obvious to a jury. Instead of retrying the case, the state appears to be using every possible tactic to delay. In hopes that House dies in prison?
The state needs to either try him immediately or let him go. Wasting time and breath on the absurd argument that House is a flight risk is an insult to the intelligence of the judge.
This evidence seems irrefutable: The only real risk House poses is to a few legal egos.
Read the full column here
. (The Tennessean, 03/02/08)