A federal judge yesterday ordered that the state of Tennessee release Paul House from death row while his appeals continue to move slowly through the court system. House, 46, has been on death row for 22 years for a murder he has always said he didn’t commit. After new DNA evidence invalidated the prosecution’s original theory of the crime, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that he should get a new hearing. A federal judge then ruled that House should get a new trial, but the prosecution appealed that ruling, and their appeal is still pending. In Monday’s ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. said House should be released after a May 28 hearing where the court will set conditions of his release.
House has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. His mother has asked for his release so that she can manage his medical care.
"I'm thrilled that he's coming home," House's mother, Joyce House, said. "He's going to get the medical attention he needs. I hate that it has taken so long."
And Judge Mattice had harsh words for the prosecution in his decision on Monday: “The public has a compelling interest in the State not continuing to incarcerate individuals who have not been accorded their constitutional right to a fair trial,” he wrote. “The State of Tennessee does not have a defensible interest in the continued incarceration of an individual whose conviction was obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
Read the full story about Monday’s decision here
. (The Tennessean, 04/08/07)