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JOHN ROBERTS U.S. SUPREME COURT CONSERVATIVES SPLIT DNA IN TEXAS

texas governor rick perry's outcry 4 american states rights to execute the possible innocent fails over u.s. human rights !!!
CONGRATS TO THE SELECT MAJORITY JUSTICES OF THE JOHN ROBERT'S U.S. SUPREME COURT WHO DECIDED TO COME OUT OF THEIR INSULATED IVORY TOWERS & REJOIN little Americans IN VALUING POSSIBLE INNOCENT AMERICAN'S LIVES ALL ACROSS OUR GREAT COUNTRY !!!

WHAT A FANTASTIC DAY IN AMERICA WHEN ENLIGHTENED & BETTER INFORMED JUSTICES IN POSITIONS OF POWER, DECIDE TO TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS IN OUR FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM !

**WHEN A CERTAIN STATE LIKE TEXAS & THEIR CALLOUS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY ATTEMPT TO OVERRIDE FEDERAL HUMAN RIGHTS WITH AN OUTCRY OF STATES RIGHTS OVER FEDERAL RIGHTS, OUR poorer little Americans SURELY NEED FEDERAL OVERSIGHT PROTECTIONS ...

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Justices rule for death row inmate who wants DNA testing

The Supreme Court says Texas inmate Hank Skinner can pursue his legal fight for DNA tests he says could prove him innocent.

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
March 7, 2011,

Reporting from Washington The Supreme Court gave a Texas death row inmate who came within an hour of being executed a new right to seek DNA evidence from the crime scene that he says could prove him innocent.

The 6-3 decision opens a narrow window for prisoners to sue and obtain DNA evidence that went untested at the time of their trials.

The Innocence Project in New York says 266 prisoners have been freed because of DNA evidence since 1989, including 17 inmates on death row. While all states permit prisoners to obtain new tests of evidence under certain circumstances, prosecutors have often resisted.

The ruling offers a glimmer of hope to Hank Skinner. Last March, he was due to be put to death for the murder of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons. Skinner maintained he was innocent, even though his blood was found on one victim's clothes and his bloody palm prints were found throughout the house.

Skinner insisted another man Busby's uncle committed the brutal killings while Skinner was drunk and asleep on the couch on New Year's Eve 1993.

While in prison, he sought DNA testing of two knives, an ax handle, a dish towel, fingernail clippings and hair samples that were found near the murder victims. None of this material was tested before or after his trial. It remains in police files, however.

Dist. Atty. Lynn Switzer not only refused to permit the testing but spent a decade fighting the issue in court. She argued Skinner's defense lawyer chose not to have this extra evidence tested. She also said the proof of Skinner's guilt was overwhelming.

The Texas courts and federal judges rejected all of Skinner's appeals and cleared the way for his execution. However, students from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism had looked into Skinner's case and raised doubts about his conviction.

With time running out, a University of Texas law professor filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and argued that Skinner was being denied his right to due process of law. While Texas by law allowed new DNA testing, Skinner was denied this opportunity because his trial lawyers chose not to ask for it.

A federal judge and the U.S. court of appeals in New Orleans quickly tossed out his civil rights claim, but the Supreme Court revived it in Skinner vs. Switzer.

"We hold that a post-conviction claim for DNA testing is properly pursued" in a civil rights suit, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She stressed that the ruling was narrow and concerns only situations where the state denies all testing of available evidence. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan agreed with Ginsburg. The dissenters were Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The district attorney will continue to fight the testing, said her lawyer, Mark D. White from Amarillo, Texas. "The Supreme Court did not order the DNA testing. So, we will start over again before a federal judge here in Amarillo," White said. "If we were to go along with this claim, there would be no end."

 david.savage@latimes.com
Copyright 2011, Los Angeles Times
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