07 November 2011

Execution stay for Hank Skinner, but DNA testing not a sure thing

Texas death row prisoner Hank Skinner had been scheduled for a November 9 execution, despite the existence of untested DNA evidence that he contends could prove his innocence.

Fortunately, today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution. But there's a catch: As noted on the blog The Agitator, "it doesn’t look like this is an order for DNA testing so much as a stay to determine whether [a new Texas law] allows Skinner to get DNA testing."

This technicality makes me uncomfortable, because there should be no excuse for executing Skinner as long as there is evidence that has not been considered. Texas should want to be absolutely sure it is not killing an innocent person. And so Texas should want to test the evidence for that reason alone.

Unfortunately, the Texas authorities have been fighting it every step of the way. What are they afraid of?

Fingers crossed in hopes that true justice will ultimately prevail.

Stay tuned for updates.

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