24 July 2008
The Honorable Bob Riley, Governor
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36150
Dear Governor Riley:
I write to encourage you in the strongest possible terms to grant a stay of execution to Thomas Arthur pending DNA testing to establish his guilt or innocence definitively.
There is no honest motivation possible for refusing this test, and Mr. Arthur would have nothing to gain by asking for it if he were indeed guilty: this alone indicates the test could exonerate him.
On what understanding of “justice” are we required to assume that there can be no “closure” in capital cases unless there is also an execution?
The Innocence Project and Amnesty International are not groups of the “lunatic fringe,” and they are pushing for DNA testing; a study report to the United Nations says Alabama is “willing to ignore [judicial] weaknesses.” Why should we not work to give the lie to this statement? We do not want to be a State known for playing “gotcha!” with legal technicalities that bar people from authentic justice, rather than the “rules of the game,” especially in cases of life or death.
Please re-consider, Governor Riley. Thank you.
Rev. David J. Tokarz, Pastor