Monday, 14 July 2008

Letter to Governor Riley - DNA testing

July 14, 2008

The Honorable Governor Bob Riley
State Capitol N 104
11 S. Union St. # 600
Montgomery, AL 36130-2751

Dear Governor Riley,

I do not know whether Thomas Arthur is guilty or innocent of the

crime of which he was convicted and sent to death row. I do know

that since 1989, 218 persons convicted of crimes they did not

commit have been exonerated by DNA testing (according to

the non-profit Innocence Project). Of these 218 persons, 16

had been sitting on Death Row in their states. Given this

history it is at least possible that Mr. Arthur is innocent as he


You have recently said, “Too often, especially when it takes

20, 25 years for one of these sentences to be carried out, to

ask for the DNA only in the last hour, when it could have some

ramifications, I don’t think that’s fair to the system (or) the family.

” What about fairness to justice; fairness to the convicted person’s

family and fairness to the people of Alabama? Are these not

considerations as well? When we are imposing the ultimate penalty

we must do everything possible to ensure that we are correct.

As a citizen of the State of Alabama I would be very angry to

discover that an innocent person had been put to death in my name.

Perhaps you should remember that you do not act alone in these


You act as our representative and as such you should endeavor to

represent justice for all concerned. Surely, no one would argue that

it is fair to the system or to the family or to anyone else that an

innocent person be executed.

For these reasons I am writing to request that you order the DNA

testing that is available in Mr. Arthur’s case. To me, it seems like a

small step to ensure his guilt or innocence. I am personally opposed

to the death penalty. I am doing and will do what I can to see to it

that the death penalty is written out of our laws. However, I do not

expect that to happen soon. What I do expect is that the State of Alabama,

including it’s Governor will do all that is humanly possible to make sure

that the accused is guilty. In the case of Mr. Arthur that means testing

the DNA evidence that is available.

How can anyone with a true sense of fairness and justice settle for

anything less?


Reverend Tom Duley

1905 A 16th Avenue South

Birmingham, AL 35205

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