Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck Responds to Montgomery County District Attorney’s Flawed Proposal for DNA Testing for Larry Swearingen
Contact: Paul Cates, 212-364-5346,
(CONROE, TX – January 25, 2013) Montgomery County District Attorney Brett W. Ligon issued a press release stating that death row inmate Larry Swearingen and his lawyers have not agreed to his terms for DNA testing that could prove Swearingen’s innocence. The following statement can be attributed to Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law After years of opposing DNA testing for Larry Swearingen, we are relieved that the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has finally said that it is willing to give Mr. Swearingen the opportunity to do the testing that could prove his innocence.
But District Attorney Brett Ligon’s plan to rush the testing though an informal agreement so that it can be completed before an execution date that was set without adequate notice and long before he agreed to the testing is unacceptable. Due to the nature of the evidence in this case, the testing required is complicated and could require several different types of analysis. The careful forensic work required will simply take more time than we have under the execution date that was set by the state.
The District Attorney’s proposal to conduct expedited testing outside of the statute that was amended in direct response to this case would severely compromise Mr. Swearingen’s ability to get the reliable testing that can prove his innocence.
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