By Alan Bean
Before the State of Georgia killed Troy Davis, I would have bet good money that Texas wouldn’t execute Hank Skinner without bothering to test the DNA evidence. But now all bets are off.
Common sense suggests that a simple DNA test should be performed in the interest of justice. What have we got to lose (other than our reputation as a nation that guarantees liberty and justice)?
The State of Texas argues that Skinner had a chance to ask for DNA testing and he failed to take advantage.
This may strike you as a peculiar argument, but in the Alice and Wonderland world of modern jurisprudence, procedure is everything and common sense counts for nothing. It doesn’t matter what the DNA might tell us; the constitutionally guaranteed window of opportunity is now closed.
Killing Hank Skinner is a bad idea, practically and on principle. But if we’re in the people-killing business, shouldn’t we at least make sure they are guilty of something really bad? If you think so, please keep reading.
Will Texas Kill an Innocent Man Next Week?
Hank Skinner is scheduled to die on November 9. But the state of Texas may execute him without even conducting DNA tests on all of the evidence from his trial, despite a decade of requests from Hank and his lawyers.
Hank has been on death row since 1995 for the murders of his girlfriend and her two adult sons, and has steadfastly professed his innocence. Since his conviction, the star witness against Hank has recanted her testimony, and others have implicated another man as the killer.
Hank has just 10 days to live. His family created an organization called “Justice 4 Hank,” and they’re fighting for a DNA test for Hank. They started a petition on Change.org asking the Gray County District Attorney and the courts to order full DNA tests to determine if Hank is actually guilty — and to prevent Texas from possibly executing an innocent man. Click here to add your name to the petition.
At the time of his trial, the prosecution conducted DNA tests on the clothes Hank was wearing — but declined to test the rest of the physical evidence, including a rape kit, the murder weapons, several hairs clutched in the victim’s hand, and a bloody windbreaker that strongly resembles that of the man accused by others of being the true murderer.
Since the year 2000, Hank has been requesting that the office of the District Attorney that prosecuted him order DNA tests on the remaining evidence. But the DA’s office has continuously denied those requests, saying Hank should have requested the tests before his trial.
The Gray County District Attorney’s office has neglected to order these tests for more than a decade without consequences. By signing this petition, you can let members of that office know that their actions are being watched, and that it is unacceptable to send a potentially innocent man to his death without collecting all the relevant evidence.
Hank could die as soon as next week. Please sign the Change.org petition created by “Justice 4 Hank” and demand the Gray County District Attorney order a DNA test on the rest of the evidence before the execution. Click here to add your name:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
– Michael and the Change.org team