An editorial in today’s
called for DNA testing in the case of Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen, who is facing a February 27 execution date. The
You’d think that granting that petition would be a no-brainer: Texas, where DNA has exonerated 48 people convicted of serious crimes, leads the nation in the number of wrongful convictions that such science has exposed; and Swearingen, convicted on circumstantial evidence and shaky eyewitness accounts, is supported by the Innocence Project, which has argued that it’s “nearly impossible” that he could have committed the crime of which he’s accused.
The current DNA testing statute was expanded by the Texas Legislature in direct response to Swearingen’s unsuccessful requests for testing. A Montgomery County District Court Judge is conducting a hearing today to determine whether to grant Swearingen’s request for DNA testing of the ligature used to strangle the victim, her fingernail scrapings, clothing and other evidence.
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