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
Reverend Tom Duley
1905 A 16th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205