Friday, 30 November 2007

Victims Push for DNA Bill On Hill

Victims Push for DNA Bill On Hill

Crime Legislation Stalls in Panel Again

By Mary Fitzgerald
Washington Post Staff Writer

Kirk Bloodsworth's voice still wavers when he recalls the two years he spent on Maryland's death row for a crime he did not commit.

The burly former Marine was 24 years old when a jury found him guilty of raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl in Baltimore County in 1984. Almost 20 years were to pass before he could clear his name through DNA testing -- the first death row inmate exonerated by such evidence. Now former prisoner No. 176117 is campaigning to ensure no one else suffers the same fat

Bloodsworth is at the forefront of lobbying efforts to persuade Congress to pass the Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act. The bill includes provisions to authorize $755 million toward testing the backlog of more than 300,000 rape kits and other crime scene evidence currently awaiting analysis. The bill also would provide $500 million in grants to help make federal, state and local crime laboratories more efficient in conducting DNA analysis. These funds would also be used to train examiners and promote the use of DNA technology to identify missing persons.

Another section of the bill would allow for the authorization of $25 million over five years to help states pay the costs of post-conviction DNA testing. This program is named after Bloodsworth.

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday began marking up the legislation but postponed further action until Tuesday, largely because of opposition raised by some committee members. Some critics say the legislation would encourage unnecessary appeals and would be too expensive.

The bill comes at a time when the death penalty system in the United States is under growing scrutiny due to the number of inmates exonerated by post-conviction DNA evidence. The total now stands at 151, according to figures provided by the Innocence Project, an anti-death-penalty group.

"Nobody should have to wait for justice," Bloodsworth said. "I struggled for nearly 20 years to clear my name. This legislation will prevent innocent people from ending up on death row, and it will ensure that the truly guilty are caught. Congress should pass this legislation and prevent more stories like mine."

Debbie Smith shares Bloodsworth's zeal, joining him over the past year to lobby dozens of senators to help pass the bill. The diminutive Williamsburg woman was raped outside her home in 1989. Even though she submitted a rape kit to the authorities, she had to wait six years before the biological evidence was tested. Her attacker was later identified through a DNA sample and convicted.

"This issue has consumed my life," she said. "This legislation is not going to do me any good now because my perpetrator has been found already through DNA, but I don't want anyone else to suffer. It's about giving people the justice they deserve."

The DNA legislation, introduced last October by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and ranking minority member Sen Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), has 38 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors. The bill passed the House by 357 to 67 last November.

Despite such an overwhelming vote in the House and growing support in the Senate, the bill has been held up at the Judiciary Committee because of opposition to a number of the bill's components.

Both Bloodsworth and Smith attended the committee meeting during which Hatch appealed to his colleagues to avoid amendments and pass the bill so that it could go before the entire Senate for a vote.

Leahy told the committee he believed the legislation's passage was being subjected to what he said were "needless delays."

"We have wasted a lot of time in reporting this bill out of committee," he said. "Every day that the bill is stalled is another day that rape kits go untested for lack of funds; another day that inmates with colorable claims of innocence are denied access to the DNA evidence that could set them free and put the real criminals behind bars."

Much of the opposition to the bill hinges on the Innocence Protection Act, part of the DNA legislation, which would allow convicted offenders the opportunity to prove their innocence through DNA testing. The legislation also calls for compensation for those who are able to clear their names.

Some critics say that by allowing people already convicted to seek exoneration through DNA testing, the legislation would encourage a flood of frivolous appeals by inmates. Also proponents of capital punishment believe it may undermine the death penalty system.

After the committee session yesterday, a tearful Smith said, "I'm disappointed that this has been adjourned because I feel like it's just mincing words at this stage. What we're losing sight of here is the urgency behind getting this bill passed."

DNA Evidence Frees a Woman

DNA Evidence Frees a Woman Convicted of Killing Her Daughter

Don Heupel/Associated Press

Lynn DeJac and her lawyer, Andrew C. LoTempio, at a hearing Wednesday in Buffalo. A judge set aside her murder conviction in her daughter’s death.

Published: November 29, 2007

BUFFALO, Nov. 28 — In 1994, Lynn DeJac was found guilty of strangling her 13-year-old daughter during a night of drinking and bar hopping. On Wednesday, Ms. DeJac walked out of the Erie County courthouse free, and the first woman in the United States to have her conviction for killing someone overturned based on DNA evidence.

The 44-year-old Ms. DeJac — whose husband and twin sons were seated behind her in the courtroom — began weeping after Judge John L. Michalski ordered her released on her own recognizance.

After her release, Ms. DeJac left the courthouse with her husband, Chuck Peters, whom she married while in prison, and their sons, who were born during her first year in prison. She did not speak to reporters.

“The first thing she wanted to do was go to my sister’s grave, then reunite with everybody — it’s been so long,” said Ms. DeJac’s 22-year-old son, Edward Girard, an Army sergeant stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. “She hasn’t met my wife yet; she hasn’t met her grandkids.”

Yet despite Ms. DeJac’s legal victory, she faces another legal hurdle. Frank Clark, the Erie County district attorney, said he planned to retry her on a charge of second-degree manslaughter because, since her conviction, the legal definition of murder due to depraved indifference had changed.

As a result, Mr. Clark said, even if Ms. DeJac was found guilty at a second trial, she would probably not return to prison because she had already served nearly the maximum sentence possible for the lesser charge.

Explaining why he planned to proceed with the case, Mr. Clark said: “The question of guilt or innocence still has not been determined. That’s why we have every trial.”

Earlier in the day, Judge Michael L. D’Amico, who presided over her trial and sentenced her to 25 years to life, set aside Ms. DeJac’s murder conviction. He ruled that new tests showing that bloodstains in the room where the body of her 13-year-old daughter, Crystallynn Girard, was found on the afternoon of Feb. 14, 1993, contained DNA belonging to a former boyfriend of Ms. DeJac’s, Dennis P. Donahue.

But Mr. Donahue will never be tried for Crystallynn’s murder, even though members of the Buffalo Police Department’s cold case squad suspect him of committing the crime. Mr. Donahue, a 55-year-old former bartender, who was charged in September with the 1993 murder of another Buffalo woman he had dated, cannot be charged in Crystallynn’s death because prosecutors granted him immunity in exchange for his testimony before a grand jury and at Ms. DeJac’s trial.

Ms. DeJac’s lawyer, Andrew C. LoTempio, urged the police to re-examine evidence found at the crime scene after Mr. Donahue’s arrest. Later, tests not available at the time of the trial indicated that a man’s DNA was present in skin cells found in a smear of blood on a wall, on bedding and in the vaginal cavity of Crystallynn, who was menstruating at the time.

Eric Ferraro, a spokesman for the Innocence Project, a legal clinic based at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, said Ms. DeJac was the first woman to be exonerated of murdering someone among the 209 people cleared through DNA evidence since 1989.

An Illinois woman, Paula Gray, was exonerated along with four men in 2002 after DNA testing cleared them in a 1978 double murder, but she had been charged as an accomplice, rather than someone who played a direct role in the crime.

“More often than not, DNA cases involve sexual assaults, so the defendants are most often men,” Mr. Ferraro said.

At Ms. DeJac’s trial, prosecutors said she had strangled her daughter during an all-night drinking binge that took her and Mr. Donahue to a wedding, back to her home, and to several local taverns. At the trial, Mr. Donahue admitted having confronted Ms. DeJac and another man that night, and that at one point he put a knife to the man’s throat.

Although prosecutors said there was no physical evidence connecting Ms. DeJac to her daughter’s murder, they relied on the testimony of a man convicted of forging checks, who said she confessed to the killing in a bar several months later.

The circumstantial case also hinged on Ms. DeJac’s behavior on the night of her daughter’s death: she made a 911 call shortly before midnight, then did not answer the door when the police responded about 15 minutes later.

Several witnesses from the working-class neighborhood of Buffalo where Ms. DeJac lived and her mother owned a tavern described her as a troubled woman, a heavy drinker and erratic mother. They said she frequently left the girl and her 8-year-old brother alone while she stayed out all night. Crystallynn’s stepfather was convicted of sexually abusing her before she was 10 years old.

“I think about 80 percent of the jury’s verdict was based on innuendo created by neighbors who didn’t like her,” said Mr. LoTempio, a former Buffalo city court judge.

Mr. LoTempio said the new DNA tests provided more evidence implicating Mr. Donahue than prosecutors had presented in the case against Ms. DeJac.

“Throughout the night, he had the opportunity to be in the house, and throughout the night, he had the motive,” Mr. LoTempio said at a hearing last week on the motion to dismiss the verdict, suggesting that Mr. Donahue killed Crystallynn because he was angry at her mother. “He’s not only in her room, he’s in her blood.”

For now, he said he hoped that the attention did not hamper her in rebuilding her life.

“She’s got no money, she’s got no clothes, she’s never seen the house where her husband and children live,” Mr. LoTempio said. “Think about being taken away from the world for 13 years and then being dropped back in. Hopefully, she won’t slip back into that neighborhood and the things that caused the problems in the first place.”

Alabama editorial: Death row DNA refusal is mind-boggling

Alabama editorial: Death row DNA refusal is mind-boggling
Posted: November 29, 2007 1:45 pm An editorial in today’s Birmingham News again calls on Alabama Gov. Bob Riley to delay the execution of Thomas Arthur to allow for DNA tests in his case. The Innocence Project does not represent Arthur and doesn’t take a position on his guilt or innocence, but we have asked Riley to grant the testing. In September, Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld asked Riley to seek the full truth in Arthur’s case before putting him to death. Earlier this month, the Innocence Project wrote to Riley’s policy director, who had requested guidance on how the governor’s office should approach requests for post-conviction DNA testing in capital cases. After outlining general guidelines, the Innocence Project again requested testing in Arthur’s case. “We believe that the Arthur case easily fits within the category of cases where DNA testing should be granted,” the letter said. “Here, science is capable of determining the truth. In fact, DNA testing has the potential to conclusively prove that Mr. Arthur was not the perpetrator of this crime and to identify the real killer.” Today’s editorial calls on Riley to act now: Had the technology existed at the time of his trial, surely DNA tests would have been conducted on the evidence, which includes hair and semen. It's routinely used now on the front end of criminal cases to confirm guilt or to eliminate suspects. It boggles the mind, then, that the state of Alabama won't order DNA tests before proceeding to execute Arthur on Dec. 6. True, the U.S. Supreme Court this week denied Arthur's legal bid for DNA testing. But the courts are bound by legal timelines and rules. We may not always like those constraints, but at least we can see the reasoning behind the decision. Gov. Bob Riley is under no such rules. He can order DNA testing in this case, and there's no good reason for him not to do it. Read today’s full editorial. (Birmingham News, 11/29/07)

Stayapplication filed to USSC in Thomas Arthur

No. 07A451
Thomas D. Arthur, Applicant
Richard F. Allen, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, et al.
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Case Nos.: (07-13929)

~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nov 28 2007 Application (07A451) for stay of execution of sentence of death, submitted to Justice Thomas.
Nov 29 2007 Response to application (07A451) from respondent Richard F. Allen, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, et al. filed.

~~Name~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~Address~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Phone~~~ Attorneys for Petitioner:

Suhana S. Han 125 Broad Street (212)-558-4647
New York, NY 10004
Party name: Thomas D. Arthur Attorneys for Respondents:

J. Clayton Crenshaw Alabama State House (334) 242-7300
Office of the Attorney General

11 South Union Street

Montgomery, AL 36130-0152
Party name: Richard F. Allen, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, et al.

The Innocence Project letter to The Governor of Alabama Bob Riley

Barry C. Scheck, ESQ. Peler J. Neufeld, Esq. Directors

Maddy deLune, Esq. Executive DirectorInnocence Project
100 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor New York. NY 10011
Tel 212.364.5340
Fax 212.364.5341

www.innocenceprojeC1.oraNovember 5, 2007Bryan Taylor Policy

Office of the Governor of the State of Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Dear Mr. Taylor:

Thank you for your
request for guidance on how the Governor's Office should approach requests for
post-conviction DNA testing in capital cases. Especially since Alabama is one of
the few states without a statute allowing for access to post-conviction DNA
testing, I it is crucial that the Governor's Office have ajust and sound policy
on when such requests should be granted.Requests for post-conviction DNA testing
are made in a few different contexts, such as to develop evidence in support of
a motion to vacate a conviction or to modify a sentence, or in support of a
request made directly to the executive for commutation, clemency, or other
relief. In capital cases where a governor, as opposed to the courts, is
considering whether to authorize DNA testing, testing should be authorized where
such testing has the potential - assuming that testing will produce an
exclusion2 - to raiseI Currently, 42 states have legislation allowing defendants
post-conviction access to DNA testing. The states that do not.have such
legislation are Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, Mississippi, South Carolina,
South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
2 Exclusions can occur in three distinct contexts.
First, testing can produce an exclusion on a material piece of evidence where
this exclusion is by itself enough for relief.
Second, there are cases in which testing produces an exclusion and additionally
identifies a third-party suspect either through a match of the ON A profile to
the profile of a known alternate suspect or through a "cold hit" to a convicted
offender's profile in the state or federal DNA databases. As of December 2006,
there were almost 4 million convicted offender profiles in the national DNA
databank system, available at,
and to date, caDIs has aided over 45,000 investigations nationwide through
databank hits, including almost 1,800 in Alabama alone. See FBI, caDIs ­
Investigations Aided, available at http://www.fbLgov/hq/lab/html/codis2.htm.
Jeffrey Deskovic and Douglas Wamey are just two examples of defendants who were
exonerated when a DNA profile developedBenjamiA N. Cardozo School 01 Law,
Yeshiva University

doubts about the conviction or the appropriateness of the sentence. Instances
where testing should be granted include, but are not limited to, where testing
could possibly produce evidence that casts doubt on: the defendant's culpability
or participation in the crime; the extent of such culpability or participation;
or a finding of any aggravating circumstances. Obviously, testing should be
conducted where it could possibly refute forensic evidence used to convict the
defendant. In addition, testing should be authorized, irrespective of whether
the state or defense introduced that forensic evidence as an exhibit at trial,
if it meets the above criteria ..It is important to note that the standard we
are suggesting deliberately bases decisions as to whether to grant DNA testing
on the impact that a DNA exclusion(s) would have on a given case and not the
likelihood that DNA testing will produce an exclusion(s). This is crucial,
because so many DNA exonerations have involved cases where evidence ofthe
defendant's guilt seemed solid and overwhelming, only to be proven wholly
unreliable through DNA testing.3 Our fifteen years of litigating DNA cases has
taught us that there is simply no way to know prior to the DNA testing whether
the DNA results will be exculpatory or inculpatory.Finally, in light of these
suggested guidelines, we very much hope that you will reconsider your decision
to deny DNA testing in the Thomas Arthur case. As you know, the Innocence
Project has reviewed the facts of the case and has contacted your office to
request DNA testing on certain items collected from the crime. We believe that
the Arthur case easily fits within the category of cases where DNA testing
should be granted. Unlike prosecutors or defense attorneys, we are not
proclaiming the guilt or innocence ofthrough post-conviction testing "cold hit"
to a convicted offender who had not been suspected 0fhaving committed the crime.
In both cases, the convicted offender who was identified through the CODIS match
subsequently confessed and pled guilty.
Finally, there are cases in which an exclusion on a single piece of evidence
would not be sufficient for relief, but where an exclusion on multiple pieces of
relevant items plus the identification of the same foreign profile on those
multiple items can cumulatively justify relief. Such results, where DNA testing
establishes that the same genetic profile exists on a number of relevant items
of evidence, are referred to as "redundancies" and have resulted in several
exonerations. For example, Kenneth Wyniemko was convicted in 1994 of rape and
exonerated in 2003 after a redundant profile was obtained on numerous pieces of
evidence. Saliva from a cigarette butt, on nylons that had been stuffed into the
rape victim's mouth, and on blood and skin scraped from beneath the victim's
fingernails yielded a single male profile that excluded Kenneth Wyniemko as the
source of the DNA. While the results from each piece of evidence alone would not
necessarily have been sufficient to exonerate Wyniemko, the combined effect of
the results of the sophisticated DNA testing performed in 2003 caused the
original prosecutor to concede that "the DNA absolutely excludes him" as the
perpetrator. See Kim North Shine, "DNA Tests Exonerate Man After Nearly A Decade
in Prison, Suspect Is To Be Set Free," Detroit Free Press, June 12,2003.
3 For example, Kirk Bloodsworth was exonerated in Maryland in 1993 after being
sentenced to die and serving eight years in prison for the grisly rape and
murder of a nine-year-old girl. He was convicted based on the testimony offive
eyewitnesses, all of whom identified Mr. Bloodsworth as the man they saw with
the little girl prior to her murder. In addition, prosecutors presented evidence
that Mr. Bloodsworth had made incriminating statements and mentioned crime
details to police that were not publicly known. DNA testing revealed that he was
not the source of sperm found on the victim's underwear, proving that this
seemingly airtight evidence was wrong. See Nat'l Instit. Just., Off. Just.
Programs, U.S. Dept. Just., Pub. No. 161258, Convicted by Juries. Exonerated by
Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After
Trial, at 35-37 (June 1996), available at
http://www .nei /pdffiles/ dnaevid.pdf.

Mr. Arthur. Instead, we are advocates for utilizing science to ascertain the
truth. Here, science is capable of determining the truth. In fact, DNA testing
has the potential to conclusively prove that Mr. Arthur was not the perpetrator
of this crime and to identify the real killer. Judy Wicker, the wife of the
murder victim, testified under oath while on trial for conspiring to murder her
husband that her husband was murdered by a lone African-American gunman who
broke into their home, raped her, and then shot her husband. Mr. Arthur was
convicted when, years later, she changed her story in exchange for an early
release from prison and stated that she had in fact hired Mr. Arthur to kill her
husband and that the original story about the unknown perpetrator who had raped
her and killed her husband was a fabrication. DNA testing has the potential to
resolve which of Judy Wicker's sworn versions is true. For example, testing on
semen in Judy Wicker's rape kit, contact DNA that may have been left by the
perpetrator on Mrs. Wicker's clothing during their struggle, and "Negroid" hairs
found in her car, could reveal a DNA profile that excludes Mr. Arthur and also
"cold hit" in the DNA database to a person who fits the original description
that the victim gave to police. In addition, testing on these same items could
reveal a common "redundant" profile that excludes Mr. Arthur. Even without a
CaDIS "cold hit," if testing reveals that the "Negroid" hair in the car was from
the same person who also deposited semen detected in the rape kit or blood or
skin cells on Mrs. Wicker's clothing, such a redundancy would provide compelling
evidence of Mr. Arthur's innocence.Notably, such testing can be authorized
without even delaying the execution, since the execution date is currently set
for December 6, 2007 and testing could be completed in less than four weeks. We
very much hope that you will authorize testing without further delay so that it
can be completed before the execution date.We trust that this information is
useful to you as you consider the DNA testing request in the case of Thomas
Arthur and any others that come before you. We are happy to speak in more depth
about these suggested guidelines and are available to you if you have any
further questions.

Peter Neufeld
Olga Akselrod

USA (Alabama) Thomas Douglas Arthur (m), white, aged 65


Note: Please write on behalf of these persons even though
you may not have received the original UA when issued on August
30, 2007.


29 November 2007

Further information on UA 225/07 (30 August 2007) and
follow-up (28 September 2007) -- Death penalty/Legal concern

USA (Alabama) Thomas Douglas Arthur (m), white, aged 65

Thomas Arthur is now scheduled for execution on 6 December
in Alabama. The state is pursuing his execution despite what
appears to be a moratorium on executions in the USA pending
the US Supreme Court's examination of the constitutionality
of lethal injections. In addition, Alabama has not granted
Thomas Arthur's request to be allowed to conduct DNA testing
of evidence relating to the crime.

Thomas Arthur was sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of
Troy Wicker. The victim's wife, Judy Wicker, was also
convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder.
She was released on parole after testifying at Thomas
Arthur's 1991 retrial.

At her own trial, Judy Wicker had testified that Thomas
Arthur was not involved in the murder, but that a stranger
had killed her husband, and had also raped her, as she had
told the police. At Arthur's 1991 retrial, she testified
that she, Teresa Rowland and Rowland's boyfriend Theron
McKinney had discussed killing Troy Wicker in early 1981.
She testified that she knew that the murder would take place
on 1 February 1982, that she and Thomas Arthur had gone to
the house together, and that she had agreed to tell the
police that her husband had been murdered by an African
American burglar. She said that she collected $90,000 in
insurance proceeds, and that she paid $10,000 to Arthur and
$6,000 to Rowland, and gave a car and jewelry to McKinney
for their assistance in the murder. Teresa Rowland and
Theron McKinney were apparently not investigated for their
alleged role in the crime. Neither of them was prosecuted.

Thomas Arthur maintains his innocence of the murder. No
physical evidence links him to the crime. Hair samples and
fingerprints from the crime scene were tested, but did not
match Thomas Arthur's. He was convicted on disputed
circumstantial evidence and the testimony of Judy Wicker,
who had committed perjury at either her trial or Arthur's

On appeal in 2002, two affidavits were filed which
contradict Judy Wicker's testimony that Thomas Arthur was
with her on the morning of the murder. The affidavits,
signed by Alphonso High and Ray Melson, stated that he had
visited them that morning. The state has not disputed that
these affidavits, if true, establish that Thomas Arthur was
about an hour's drive away from the Wickers' home at the
time of the murder. However, the state obtained its own
affidavits from High and Melson contradicting their original
statements. Thomas Arthur's lawyers raised critical
questions about the circumstances under which these
witnesses retreated from their original testimonies and
requested a hearing to resolve the factual disputes; their
request was denied. In 2006, the US Court of Appeals for the
11th Circuit ruled that the disputed affidavits were not
sufficient to meet the threshold for a federal hearing on
new evidence of innocence under US law.

In support of his argument that he should be allowed back
into court for a hearing on his innocence claim, Thomas
Arthur is seeking to have modern DNA testing conducted on
various pieces of evidence related to the crime, including
Judy Wicker's bloodstained clothing, the rape evidence, and
hair samples. Such testing, it is argued, could establish
that someone other than him was at the crime scene, thereby
discrediting Judy Wicker's trial testimony against Arthur.

On 5 November 2007, the Innocence Project, which represents
inmates seeking DNA testing to prove their innocence, wrote
to the Alabama Governor's Office responding to its request
for advice on how to approach requests for post-conviction
DNA testing in capital cases. In its letter to the
Governor's Policy Director, the Innocence Project outlined
its guidance and urged the Governor to grant DNA testing in
Thomas Arthur's case. Its letter stated: "We believe that
the Arthur case easily fits within the category of cases
where DNA testing should be granted... In fact, DNA testing
has the potential to conclusively prove that Mr Arthur was
not the perpetrator of this crime and to identify the real

Alabama has rescheduled Thomas Arthur's execution despite
the fact that there appears to be a de facto national
moratorium on executions in the USA pending the US Supreme
Court's consideration of the constitutionality of the use of
lethal injection as an execution method (see Pause for
thought: Another lethal injection halted by US Supreme
While Amnesty International expects that either the 11th Circuit
Court of Appeals or the US Supreme Court will stay the
execution on the lethal injection issue, there is no
absolute guarantee of this outcome at this stage.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as
quickly as possible:
- explaining that you are not seeking to condone the manner
of Troy Wicker's death;
- noting that Thomas Arthur was convicted on the basis of
circumstantial evidence and the testimony of Judy Wicker,
who has committed perjury and was providing testimony in
return for assistance with her parole bid;
- expressing concern that Thomas Arthur has not had a
judicial hearing on evidence of his innocence, and that the
State of Alabama is resisting modern DNA testing of evidence
from the crime;
- calling on the governor to allow such testing to take
place, noting that a number of errors have been uncovered in
capital cases throughout the USA, some as a result of DNA
- expressing concern that Alabama set a new execution date
in this case despite moves across the USA to halt executions
pending the US Supreme Court's consideration of the lethal
injection issue;
- opposing the execution of Thomas Arthur, and noting that
in contrast to his death sentence Judy Wicker served 10
years in prison having been convicted of the murder, and
that two other people implicated in the murder were
apparently not even investigated.

Governor Bob Riley
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130
Fax: 1 334 353 0004
Email, via Governor's website at:
Salutation: Dear Governor


Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement
that promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including
contact information and stop action date (if applicable).
Thank you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl
Washington DC 20003
Phone: 202.544.0200
Fax: 202.675.8566


Thursday, 29 November 2007

Absolute rubbish

Absolute rubbish

Opposition to post-conviction DNA testing has always baffled me. Literally, what has anyone to lose? If the Defendant is guilty absolute proof will impact on the chance of relief at clemency or on “appeal;” indeed lingering doubt is often a reason FOR clemency or a grant of relief. As formerGov. Mike Huckabee recently noted,”[t]he death penalty is the only decision that I make as a governor that is totally irrevocable. Once an execution is carried out, a life has ended.”

Apparently not everyone feels the same way. Tommy Arthur is slated to be killed next Thursday in Alabama. Today the Birmngham News calls on Alabama Gov. Bob Riley to perform DNA testing to assure his guilt lest he kill the wrong guy.

Had the technology existed at the time of his trial, surely DNA tests would have been conducted on the evidence, which includes hair and semen. It’s routinely used now on the front end of criminal cases to confirm guilt or to eliminate suspects.

It boggles the mind, then, that the state of Alabama won’t order DNA tests before proceeding to execute Arthur on Dec. 6.

True, the U.S. Supreme Court this week denied Arthur’s legal bid for DNA testing. But the courts are bound by legal timelines and rules. We may not always like those constraints, but at least we can see the reasoning behind the decision.

Gov. Bob Riley is under no such rules. He can order DNA testing in this case, and there’s no good reason for him not to do it.

Read the ull editorial

In Florida, on a similar note, is Thomas Overton v. State where today the state Supreme Court goes to extraordinary length to deny DNA testing of hair evidence. Counsel for Overton wants to examine whether the tape that had been used to bind the victim contains any hair evidence, presumably of the victim and perpetrator. Rather than order testing of the tape the Overton Court goes out of its way to create a scenario, however implausible, where DNA could be recovered that wasn’t the perpetrator’s or victim’s.

Like I said, opposition to post-conviction DNA testing has always baffled me, today, is no different. The Innocence Blog has more.

[Update 1040PM] I should note the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Kriesel on Thursday upheld the 2004 expansion of DNA testing to persons convicted of a crime in federal court. The prior law limited DNA testing primarily violent federal felonies.

DNA testing for Arthur

ALABAMA: DNA testing for Arthur THE ISSUE: It's inconceivable that the state of Alabama won't order DNA testing before executing a death row inmate who claims to be innocent. Thomas Arthur may absolutely be guilty of a 1982 murder for which he was sentenced to death. Arthur emphatically claims he is not; a jury concluded he was. The truth is, there's at least some evidence to suggest guilt and other evidence that makes you wonder. Unfortunately, the jury that decided Arthur's fate didn't have the luxury of DNA testing that might have helped them sort through the complicated facts of the case. Had the technology existed at the time of his trial, surely DNA tests would have been conducted on the evidence, which includes hair and semen. It's routinely used now on the front end of criminal cases to confirm guilt or to eliminate suspects. It boggles the mind, then, that the state of Alabama won't order DNA tests before proceeding to execute Arthur on Dec. 6. True, the U.S. Supreme Court this week denied Arthur's legal bid for DNA testing. But the courts are bound by legal timelines and rules. We may not always like those constraints, but at least we can see the reasoning behind the decision. Gov. Bob Riley is under no such rules. He can order DNA testing in this case, and there's no good reason for him not to do it. Arthur is accused of killing Troy Wicker, at the behest of Wicker's wife and Arthur's lover, Judy. Judy Wicker at first claimed someone broke into her home, raped her and killed her husband. But later, under a deal to get out of prison, Judy Wicker testified she paid Arthur to do the deed. Testing evidence recovered in the case - including semen taken from Mrs. Wicker - may merely confirm Arthur's guilt. But it might also implicate someone else or at least lend credence to Mrs. Wicker's first version of the crime. In other words, it could bolster Arthur's claims of innocence. Either way, what does it hurt to do the testing before carrying out Arthur's execution? Even the victim's family has supported Arthur's efforts to get the evidence tested, expressing uncertainty about the truth in the case. Other factors the governor should consider: Judy Wicker, who under the prosecutors' theory of the case is as guilty as Arthur, served only 10 years in prison for her husband's murder. The prosecutor who tried Arthur had been a private attorney representing Mrs. Wicker. And while Arthur asked for the death penalty - in an effort, he said, to ensure more appeals court scrutiny of the case - he was one of the inmates on Alabama's Death Row who missed crucial appeals deadlines because he did not have a lawyer. (Alabama is alone in not making sure condemned inmates have lawyers at every stage of the appeal process, but that's an editorial for another day.) Arthur's date with death may be held up anyway as a result of a larger court case over the particulars of lethal injection. But it's worth it to hold off on the execution just to allow time for DNA results. Indeed, if Riley had ordered the test when the request was first made, we'd already have the answer. The Birmingham News)

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Thomas Arthur - DNA appeal to 11 circuit

Please read this DNA appeal to 11 circuit Is he innocent?????

Alabama Governor’s 45-Day Stay of Execution for Thomas Arthur Should Immediately Lead to DNA Testing, Innocence Project Says

Alabama Governor’s 45-Day Stay of Execution for Thomas Arthur Should Immediately Lead to DNA Testing, Innocence Project Says

[Print Version]

‘Governor Riley is out of excuses. The 45-day stay of execution gives us more than enough time to conduct and complete DNA testing that could show whether Thomas Arthur is guilty or innocent,’ Neufeld says

(MONTGOMERY, AL; September 27, 2007) – Today, Alabama Governor Bob Riley issued a 45-day stay of execution for Thomas Arthur so that the state can change its lethal injection protocol. Arthur was set to be executed this evening. The Innocence Project, which represents prisoners seeking to prove their innocence through DNA testing, has been asking Governor Riley to issue a stay of execution in Arthur’s case in order to conduct DNA testing that could prove his guilt or innocence. The Innocence Project said today that Governor Riley should immediately order DNA testing in Arthur’s case – and that DNA testing could be completed well within the 45 days granted in the stay of execution.

Arthur’s case is the second in less than two months in which Governor Riley has refused to allow for DNA testing before an execution. In July, Darrell Grayson was executed in Alabama without DNA testing that could have conclusively proven his guilt or innocence. The Innocence Project, which does not represent Arthur and does not have a position on his guilt or innocence, said DNA testing in Arthur’s case could show whether the initial story from the victim’s wife was, in fact, accurate. (She initially claimed a stranger – someone other than Arthur – broke into their home, raped her and killed her husband. Police suspected she was lying, and she was charged and convicted in the murder. She then changed her story and testified against Arthur in order to be released from prison earlier.) Her motive to lie is obvious, the Innocence Project says. Several pieces of evidence – the victim’s wife’s blood-stained clothing, a rape kit collected from her after the crime, and hairs in the victim’s wife’s car – could be subjected to DNA testing. The testing could show that her testimony against Arthur was false, and the DNA testing could identify the true perpetrator. For example, it’s possible that the testing could show that her original story was true and that she was raped, and the DNA profile from evidence in the rape could be entered in the federal DNA database and yield a hit to a man matching her initial description of the intruder at the couple’s home.

Following is a statement from Peter Neufeld, Innocence Project Co-Director, on today’s developments in the Arthur case:

“Governor Riley said last week that DNA testing was only a tactic to delay this execution. It’s not. Now that the execution is delayed for other reasons,

DNA testing should be started immediately. By the time Governor Riley made his statements last week that we were simply trying to delay this execution, weeks had passed since we first requested DNA testing – and the testing could have already been conducted.

“The 45-day stay of execution gives us more than enough time to conduct and complete DNA testing that could show whether Thomas Arthur is guilty or innocent. Governor Riley is out of excuses. There is no reason to continue denying DNA testing – and every reason to start the process for DNA testing immediately.

“As we have said before, we do not have a position on whether Thomas Arthur is guilty or innocent. Our concern is that biological evidence may exist that could be subjected to DNA testing and prove whether or not he is guilty. The victim’s wife in this case was convicted of murdering her husband and then changed her story; DNA testing could show that she changed her story only to get out of prison sooner, and that in fact someone other than Thomas Arthur committed this crime.

“In 42 states, Darrell Grayson or Thomas Arthur would have been able to get DNA testing that could resolve their cases and maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system. Governor Riley, who has refused DNA testing before executions twice in the last two months, has made it clear that he isn’t concerned with getting to the truth in these cases. Nationwide, 15 people who served time on death row have been exonerated through DNA evidence. Sometimes within days of execution, DNA proved they were innocent. If any of those 15 people had been in Alabama, they would be dead today.

“This indifference to the power of DNA to determine the truth through hard science is unconscionable. It is nothing short of a national scandal that Governor Riley is repeatedly refusing DNA testing before executions when testing could confirm guilt or innocence. With this 45-day window of time, Governor Riley has an opportunity to restore faith in the system and restore credibility to his office.”

Save Thomas D. Arthur From Execution 12-06-2007

Save Thomas D. Arthur From Execution 12-06-2007

Everyone who is interested is saving an innocent person from execution

We the undersigned are fighting for Thomas Arthur to be allowed DNA testing that could conclusively prove his innocence. We are asking that Alabama Governor Riley order DNA testing of evidence that includes blood, hair and semon was recovered and still exists, but it has never been tested!!! DNA testing of the evidence evidence can conclusively prove Thomas Arthur is innocent and was never at the crime scene, as he has proclaimed for 25 years. Yet the State of Alabama not only REFUSES to DNA test the crime scene evidence--but it is refusing to allow Arthur to have the evidence DNA tested at HIS EXPENSE!!! Is the State of Alabama refusing because they know Thomas Arthur is innocent--then it is not seeking to execute him---but to LEGALLY murder him. We are asking that Governor Riley allow Thomas Arthur a new trial so that he may present ALL of the evidence that can prove his innocence. There are two eye witnesses placing Arthur 75 miles away when crime was committed. The DNA evidence will prove if the two women found at the crime scene fired the weapon that shot the victim. It can prove Arthur did not have sex with Judy Wicker prior to the murder, it can prove blooded shirts might have another persons blood on it. The semen can be put in an FBI data base to se if another person could have committd this crime. No physical evidence links this man to the crime!!! 20 years on Death Row is a crime, but to be executed for a crime you are innocent of is something you will have on your conscience for ever Governor....Governor Riley, hear our voices , we demand the crime scene evidence be DNA tsted, and that you immediately order an investigation into this case by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. You can go to and see the circumstantial evidence and the DNA evidence from the court records. You decide which proves absolute innocence or guilt.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Death penalty stayed for now

12:02 PM PST on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Press-Enterprise

It's too late for Stephen Wayne Anderson, the last Inland killer executed by the state. But for condemned inmates whose appeals are nearing the end, an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case could alter the way they get the three-drug lethal-injection cocktail used in executions nationwide.

At issue before the Supreme Court is not the death penalty itself, but whether the protocols used in administering lethal injections violate the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The debate has halted executions across the country.

The drugs used to anesthetize, paralyze and stop the heart of condemned inmates can, if administered incorrectly, cause a sensation of suffocation and excruciating pain, lawyers and doctors said.

"This method, which everybody thought would be much less cruel and a more humane way to kill people, maybe isn't so humane," said Frank Peasley, a Riverside lawyer who has defended eight capital cases but does not oppose the death penalty. Some people deserve to die because of the atrocity of their crimes, he said.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case filed by attorneys for two Kentucky inmates, Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr., who contend that the protocol creates "an unnecessary risk of suffering." In hearings set to start in January, they will ask the high court to set a standard for lethal injection.

Used by 36 States

Lethal injection is used in all but one of the 37 states that have the death penalty -- Nebraska uses the electric chair -- and most use the same three drugs.

Among the potential problems cited by foes of lethal injection: The execution team is unable to find a suitable vein for the intravenous drip; the flow from the intravenous drip is directed toward the hand rather than the heart; the chemicals are shot into tissue instead of the bloodstream; or the prisoner does not react normally to the drugs. Such problems could cause an inmate to feel torturous pain from the final two drugs, even while sedated from the first drug.

Increasing numbers of court cases challenging lethal injection have sprung up in the past few years.

In a recent case in federal court in California, an expert witness testified that intravenous bags for administering the drugs at San Quentin State Prison hang from ducts so high that it would be impossible to determine whether they were working properly. The leader of the execution team testified that he had carried out executions while he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and was taking antidepressants and after he had been disciplined for a drunken-driving conviction.

After the 2002 execution of Inland killer Anderson, who shot 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman in the bed of her Bloomington home, opponents of capital punishment were astounded that the procedure had taken 29 minutes to complete, twice as long as most. Even after Anderson was unconscious, his stomach heaved dozens of times for about four minutes, far more than the once or twice that is typical, witnesses said.

In their arguments, opponents cite the 2005 execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder of the Crips gang, who had shot and killed four people during robberies in 1979. In the death chamber at San Quentin, north of San Francisco, it took the execution team 20 minutes to set the intravenous lines, causing Williams to wonder, "You doing that right?," according to witness accounts.

Attorneys in court filings have said a nurse, after struggling to start a backup line in Williams' left arm, left the chamber in frustration without setting it properly, and the execution continued without the backup.

'I Just Want Him to Hurt'

Riverside resident Carol McVeigh, whose 34-year-old son, Tim, was murdered during a 1994 robbery, is tired of the debate about killers' rights. "What about the victims?" she wonders.

Tim McVeigh was working as night manager at an Orange County supermarket when Stephen Redd entered the store with a gun and demanded money. Tim was shot point blank in the stomach and bled to death three hours later.

Carol McVeigh can't help thinking about her son's slow, painful death. She often wonders what Tim, an aspiring commercial pilot and a history buff, would be doing today.

Whatever Redd's punishment -- death or life in prison -- McVeigh said she wants it carried out. If he is finally executed after more than 20 years of appeals and he suffers some pain in the process, she is OK with that.

"When I hear that it's cruel and inhuman punishment, was it not what (many convicted killers) do?" McVeigh asked. "I just want him to hurt, and maybe that will cause him someday to have remorse."

California Executions

When the Supreme Court takes up the matter, it will be the first time in more than a century that it has ruled on an execution method. Over the years, the United States has used hanging, firing squads, poison gas and electrocution to execute its condemned killers.

Even before the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, California's executions already were on hold.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Francisco blocked the execution of Michael Morales, who was condemned for the 1981 murder of 17-year-old Terri Winchell, of Lodi. Fogel, concerned that the sedation drug might not work, ordered prison officials to have medical experts oversee the execution to ensure that the man was not in pain.

When medical professionals refused to participate, all state executions were halted.

After hearings, Fogel ruled that the state's methods were flawed and unconstitutional because executioners lacked proper screening, training and supervision, improperly mixed the fatal drugs, worked in inadequate facilities and failed to keep reliable records.

The state has proposed revisions to the procedure, including the construction of a new death chamber. Fogel is awaiting the Supreme Court's decision before proceeding with the case.

Further complicating the issue was a ruling last month by a judge in Marin County, who said the state's proposed new lethal-injection protocols were invalid because they were not subjected to public comment or reviewed by the office that oversees state regulations.

Dennis Christy, a San Bernardino County assistant district attorney, said prosecutors are concerned about the impact of the delays on families of victims, who suffer "tremendously waiting for finalization and the opportunity for closure."

Capital punishment is the law, and not carrying out the sentences is contrary to the will of voters, he said.

Nation's Largest Death Row

California has the largest death row in the country, with 660 inmates awaiting execution; 96 of them are from Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Only 13 people have been executed since voters reinstated the death penalty in 1978.

In the past five years, more inmates on California's death row have died from suicide or natural causes than have been executed, according to state Department of Corrections records.

Among the inmates appealing their cases is one of Peasley's most infamous clients, William Lester Suff, convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the slayings of a dozen prostitutes he had picked up in Riverside and Lake Elsinore between 1989 and 1991.

"He'll die a natural death before all the appeals ... are done," Peasley said. "If any of them get executed, it will probably be long after I'm dead."

'It Doesn't Make Sense'

The tremendous cost and lengthy appeals of capital cases make the death penalty impractical, said Peasley, who prefers a sentence of life imprisonment so the families of victims can have closure.

"When people's crimes are so atrocious and they've lived such a life in which they preyed upon other people, I think people forfeit their right to live," he said. "But I just think that (the death penalty) is so unwieldy that from a pragmatic standpoint, it doesn't make sense."

Housing an inmate on death row is expensive, according to a 2005 study cited by Death Penalty Focus, an anti-execution group. It costs $90,000 a year more to house a condemned prisoner than one serving a sentence of life without parole because of the individual cells and extra guards needed. Millions of more dollars are spent on the attorneys involved in the appeals process, according to the study.

Riverside lawyer Steve Harmon, who has defended five capital cases, said the price is too high when the state needs new schools and highways. He also said the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent.

"It is absurd to kill people to get them to stop killing other people. That is the worst kind of example. What pro death penalty people say is that we need the death penalty to protect us, and I have never encountered anyone, never, who stopped and thought and decided not to kill somebody because of the death penalty," Harmon said.

Death-penalty proponent Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation called the latest round of challenges "a hiccup" in the system.

Efforts to challenge lethal injection ultimately could backfire on death-penalty foes because once the matter is settled, states may start executing killers more quickly, he said.

"It's like plugging a hole in the dam. The whole thing is going to go very soon," he said. "It's resulted in about a year of delays, and it will be settled in a few months."

Proposed Initiative

Rushford said his group is supporting a proposed initiative for next year's ballot that seeks to speed up the appeals process, which, in California, leaves killers on death row for an average of 17 ½ years.

The public's frustration with the long appeals process and the few executions being carried out is among the problems with the death penalty, said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center.

Even before the latest series of court actions, death-penalty sentences nationwide had decreased, he said, adding that there were 330 in 1999 and 128 in 2005. Executions also have declined. There were 98 nationwide in 1999 and 53 last year.

And despite steady voter support for the death penalty across the United States during the past 50 years, some states are beginning to question capital punishment. Lawmakers in New Jersey will decide next month whether to abolish executions in that state.

"The rationale seems to be we're not getting anything out of this. The frustration of it not being of much use, risks of mistakes and unfairness: It's that bigger package of problems with the death penalty that I think is causing its demise," Dieter said. "Lethal injection is just another straw on the camel's back."

Reach Janet Zimmerman at 951-368-9586 or

Motion for stay filed to USSC in Thomas Arthur, Alabama

Motion for stay filed to USSC for Thomas Arthur

Alabama uses the same cocktail!

Alabama uses the same cocktail!

Death Chamber of Secrets

Posted November 26, 2007 | 03:36 PM (EST)

stumbleupon :Death Chamber of Secrets digg: Death Chamber of Secrets reddit: Death Chamber of Secrets Death Chamber of Secrets

"It never occurred to me when we set this up that we'd have complete idiots administering the drugs." So said Jay Chapman, the Oklahoma doctor who developed the infamous three-drug cocktail used by many states to execute people - the same concoction that is now under constitutional review before the U.S. Supreme Court. As part of the secrecy surrounding the execution process, we do not really know who the people carrying out lethal injections are. But thanks to a recent lawsuit in Missouri, we know a little bit about one of these people.

He is a doctor from Missouri called Dr. Doe. He has been barred from practice in two hospitals, been the subject of numerous malpractice lawsuits and has been forbidden by a federal judge from "participat[ing] in any manner, at any level, in the State of Missouri's lethal injection process."

Dr. Doe's transgressions were not brought to light by the state, but as the result of a lawsuit filed by a condemned inmate. And we learned a lot from Dr. Doe's own testimony. The doctor admitted under oath that he has dyslexia. He testified that his dyslexia renders him unable to work with numbers, so, Dr. Doe said, "it's not unusual for me to make mistakes." He testified "that he had cut the thiopental [the drug that renders a person unconscious] dosage he gave inmates by half because a change in drug packaging forced him to 'improvise'." According to an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, Dr. Doe participated in more than 50 executions in Missouri in which he "varied the amount of thiopental he gave inmates on a whim, without informing anyone." Just as Doe was not informing anyone about his improvisation, the state of Missouri did not inform anyone about the unqualified doctor running its lethal injection system.

Where has Dr. Doe ended up now that he no longer executes prisoners in Missouri? Astoundingly, the federal government has made him as part of its execution team. Although the U.S. Bureau of Prisons cites a policy of not publicly disclosing the names of staff members involved with lethal injections, we know that Dr. Doe will possibly replicate his abysmal performance in Missouri on the national level because he testified about his new job in the inmate's lawsuit.

If ignorance is bliss, then your government wants you ecstatically unaware of the lethal injection process. Indeed, if it were not for lawsuits filed by condemned inmates, we may have never learned how poorly the death penalty system is run. Much of this information about Dr. Doe and other lethal injection issues is available on, a website run by the Death Penalty Clinic at UC Berkeley's law school.

But even with lawsuits and websites we still have to fight to get information. Even the Show Me State kept its citizens blind to the fact that a doctor, found unfit to practice in two hospitals, was overseeing the execution of inmates. Only government transparency will allow us to see the absurdity of a system that allows a doctor who cannot perform executions of prisoners in one state to participate in the executions of inmates from all over the country. We need to see it to believe it.

The case of Thomas Arthur


  2. Arthur's first conviction and sentence to death for the murder of Troy Wicker was reversed by the Alabama Supreme court on May 10, 1985. Ex parte Arthur, 472 So. 2d 665 (Ala. 1985)
  3. Arthur was convicted and sentenced to death a second time for the Troy Wicker murder, but his second conviction and sentenced were reversed by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Arthur v. State, 575 So. 2d 1165 (Ala. Crim. App. 1990)
  4. Arthur was tried a third time for the murder of Troy wicker and convicted on December 5, 1991. (CR. 11, R. 1150) The trial court, following the jury's recommendation, sentenced Arthur to death on January 24, 1992 (Cr. 12, 14-27:R 1237, 1291-1300).
  5. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Arthur's conviction and death sentence on March 8, 1996. Arthur v. State, 711 So. 2d 1031 (Ala. Crim. App. 1996)
  6. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals on November 21, 1997. Ex parte Arthur, 711 So. 2d 1097 (Ala. 1997) Arthur's application for re-hearing was denied 1998.
  7. Justice Denied magazine published an article in the fall of 1999 about Thomas Arthur's case and included his plea for a lawyer to step forward to handle his state and federal post-conviction appeals pro bono, because Alabama doesn't provide a post-conviction lawyer for a death row prisoner. Read Justice Denied Article
  8. Arthur did not petition for the writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, or did he seek state of federal collateral review at any time before January 25, 2001. *Note: During this time Arthur was desperately seeking a "voluntary attorney". He did not have an attorney. Read Article
  9. On September 15, 2000, the State filed an "Amended Motion to Set Execution Date" in the Supreme Court of Alabama.
  10. On January 25, 2001, Arthur, proceeding through counsel, filed his rule 32 Petition in the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama . The Rule 32 Petition was dismissed as untimely on March 5, 2001. *Note: By the time Arthur found counsel, his petition was filed late.
  11. On March 23, 2001, the Alabama Supreme Court entered its order setting Friday, April 27, 2001, as Arthur's execution date.
  12. On March 28, 2001, Arthur filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal of the Rule 32 petition in the Tenth Circuit of Jefferson County Alabama, and on April 4, 2001, Arthur filed a "Motion for stay of Execution" in the Alabama Supreme Court.
  13. On April 11, 2001, the Alabama Supreme Court denied Arthur's motion to stay his execution.
  14. On April 20, 2001, Arthur filed his "Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus" and his Motion for Stay of Execution" in this Court. After consideration of written and oral arguments, this court entered its order granting Arthur's motion for stay on April 25, 2001. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied Respondent's motion to vacate dissolve the stay on April 26, 2001.
  15. Because Arthur's March 28, 2001, motion reconsider was pending in the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court in Jefferson County Alabama , this court stayed consideration of the present habeas corpus petition until the conclusion of the state court proceedings initiated by Arthur's Rule 32 Petition.
  16. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the denial and dismissal of the state post-conviction petition on April 25, 2001. Arthur v. State, 820 So. 2d 886 (Ala. Crim. app. 201) State court review of Arthur's Rule 32 Petition concluded when the Alabama Supreme Court denied Arthur's petition for the writ of certiorari on November 2, 2001.
  17. On May 13, 2002, the United States Supreme Court denied Arthur's petition for writ of certiorari from his state court Rule 32 proceedings.
  18. The District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered its memorandum of opinion on December 4, 2002.
  19. The District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered it's memorandum of opinion denying Arthur's motion to alter or amend judgment on June 4, 2003.
  20. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decision was entered on June 21 2006
  21. The opinion of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals was entered August 14, 2006.
  22. On September 21, 2006, Justice Thomas extended the time for filing a petition for writ of certiorari to January 11, 2007.
  23. On January 11, 2007, Arthur files Petition for A Writ of Certiorari Writ Of Certio
  24. On March 27, 2007, Arthur files Reply To Brief In Opposition Brief In Opposition
  25. On April 16, 2007, The Alabama Supreme Court sets the execution date for September 27, 2007. Death Order
  26. On May 14, 2007 Arthur filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. & 1983 challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's lethal injection Protocol in effect at the time. The State of Alabama moved to dismiss the complaint on various grounds.
  27. On May 17th, Arthur filed in the Supreme court of Alabama a memorandum in Opposition To the State of Alabama's Motion To Set An Execution Date. See Respondent's Memorandum
  28. On August 17, 2007, Thomas Arthurs request to access and test the DNA evidence was turned down by the Middle District Court of Alabama.. The Judge ruled it could not help him prove his innocence!!!! Read the Court Documents and Judges Opinion
  29. On August 27, 2007 In The Middle District Court, Thomas Arthur filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. Read Motion To Alter Or Amend Judgment
  30. September7, 2007, a Brief of Thomas Arthur was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on their decision to deny DNA evidence and the right to discovery. Read Brief Of Thomas Arthur
  31. September 12, 2007, his brief was denied.
  32. The courts set an execution date for September 27, 2007 See Death Warrant
  33. September 12, 2007, A Motion of Appellant Thomas D. Arthur Was filed For A Stay of Execution in the United States court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. See Motion for Stay
  34. September 12, 2007 A Brief of Thomas D. Arthur was filed in the United States Court of appeals For the Eleventh Circuit for a request that the court hear oral argument in regard to DNA evidence and newly discovered evidence bearing on the plaintiffs innocence. Read Entire Brief Of Thomas D. Arthur
  35. September 17, 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals For The Eleventh circuit denies Arthur's lethal Injection motion as being cruel and unusual punishment because it was filed before the execution date was set. But then saying it was filed too late. Two Judges dissented on the decision Read The Courts Decision
  36. September 21, 2007 The U.S Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit For the Eleventh Circuit denied Arthurs DNA Motion to stay of execution as moot. See Courts Decision
  37. September 21, 2007 A Motion For Stay Of Execution was filed in the Supreme Court Of The United States by Arthur. Read Motion For Stay
  38. September 21, 2007, A Petition for a Writ Of Certiorari (Lethal Injection) was filed by Arthur in The Supreme Court of the United States. See Writ of Certiorari
  39. September 24, 2007, The State filed a Brief of Respondents In Opposition To Certiorari And Accompanying
    Application For Stay Of Execution. See States Brief In Opposition
  40. September 25, 2007 Arthur files A Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari (DNA ) In The Supreme Court of the United States. See Writ Of Certiorari (DNA)
  41. September 25, 2007 A Motion for Stay Of Execution (Based On DNA Testing) was filed In the Supreme Court Of The United States. Read Motion
  42. September 25, 2007 An Emergency Motion Of Thomas D Arthur For A Stay Of Execution was Filed In The Supreme Court Of Alabama. Read Emergency Motion
  43. September 26, 2007, The State filed Petition Brief Of Respondent In Opposition To Petition And In Opposition To A Stay Of Execution (DNA Based) Read Petition
  44. September 26, 2007 Thomas Arthur filed a Supplemental Brief In The United States Supreme Court. Read Supplemental Brief
  45. September 26, 2007 Thomas Arthur filed a second Supplemental Brief In The Supreme Court Of The United States. Read Second Supplemental Brief Arthur's attorneys received a call from the Governor's legal advisor Scott Rouse informing them that Alabama was changing their lethal injection protocol. Arthurs daughter was actually doing a live interview with a local TV station when the attorneys called her, and said they were filing a second brief. The reporter was sitting right there and that statement was broadcast live that evening that the State was changing it's lethal injection protocol, but was intending on executing Arthur anyway. This probably saved Arthur's life the next day, along with all the media pressure on the Governor about the DNA testing.
  46. September 26, 2007 The State filed a petition In The Supreme court Of The United States Respondents Reply to Supplemental Brief Read Respondent's Reply
  47. September 26, 2007 The State filed a petition In The Supreme Court Of The United States Respondent's Reply To Petitioners Second Supplemental Brief. Read Respondent's Reply to Second Brief
  48. September 27, 2007, as Arthur's daughter was spending her last 15 minutes with her father alive, a call came in from the Governors office that Arthur had been granted a 45 day "reprieve". See Governors 45 Day Reprieve
  49. September 27, 2007 , The Governor immediately issued a press release that the reprieve was only to give the State time to change it's protocol, and there was "overwhelming evidence that Arthur was guilty and would be executed immediately following the 45 day reprieve". (on the home page, you can click on the over whelming circumstantial evidence, and then you can click on the crime scene evidence that could be DNA tested to prove Arthur was not at the crime scene and someone else committed the murder, but the Governor has denied the DNA testing at Arthur's expense, and prefers to murder someone with circumstantial evidence opposed to scientific DNA testing) See Governor's Press Release
  50. September 28, 2007, The State filed a motion In The Supreme Court Of Alabama To Set An Execution Date. See Motion To Set New Execution Date
  51. October 04, 2007 Respondent , Thomas Arthur filed a Supplemental Memorandum In Opposition To the State Of Alabama's Motion To Set An Execution Date. This was filed In The Supreme court Of Alabama. See Motion
  52. October 04, 2007 A Motion (Opposition to Lethal Injection) Was filed In The Supreme Court of the United States by Arthur. Petitioners Response To Brief In Opposition. (On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari To The United States Court of appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.) See Petition Filed
  53. October 09, 2007, Arthur filed a Civil Action Complaint (Lethal Injection Based) In The United States District Court for The Southern District Of Alabama. Civil Action No. CV. 07-772 See Civil Action Complaint
  54. October 09, 2007, Arthur filed a DNA Motion In The Supreme Court of the United States. Petitioners Reply To Brief In Opposition (On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To the United States Court Of Appeals For the Eleventh Circuit) See DNA Motion To Supreme Court Of United States
  55. October 12, 2007, Arthur filed a Second Supplemental Memorandum In Opposition To The State Of Alabama's Motion To Set An Execution Date. Filed In the Supreme Court Of Alabama See Second Supplemental Memorndum
  56. October 19, 2007 Arthur filed a Third Supplemental Memorandum to the Alabama Supreme Court of Alabama, in opposition of the State setting an execution date. See Third Supplemental Memorandum
  57. October 31, 2007, the Alabama Supreme Court Set a new execution date for Thomas Arthur December 06, 2007 See New Death Order
  58. October 31, 2007, The State filed a motion with the Southern District of Alabama, Southern Division to dismiss Arthurs 1983 Action Challenging Alabama's Method of Execution See States Motion To Dismiss
  59. November, the Governors Office Policy Director, Bryan Taylor verbally requested from the Innocence Project, guidance on how the Governors Office should approach requests for post-conviction DNA testing in capital cases. November 05, 2007 The Innocence Project based in New York sent the requested information to the governor's Office. See Letter From Innocence Project
  60. November 02, 2007 Arthur filed in the Alabama Supreme Court, a Motion To Vacate The Order Setting An Execution Date of December 06, 2007 See Motion To Vacate
  61. November 05, 2007 Arthur filed in the United States District Court For The Southern District Of Alabama, A Memorandum Of Law In Oppsition To The States Motion To Dismiss Arthurs 2nd Lethal Injection Motion. See Motion Of Opposition
  62. November 09, 2007, The State filed In The United States District Court For the Southern District Of alabama, A Motion In Opposition To Arthurs Motion To Dismiss See States Motion
  63. November 14, 2007 The Supreme Court Of Alabama ordered that Arthurs Motion to Vacate Execution date set for December 06, 2007 is Denied. See Alabama Supreme Court Ruling
  64. November 15, 2007 The United States District Court For The Southern District Of Alabama Southern Division , Judge William H. Steele granted the States Motion To Dismiss See Judges Ruling
  65. November 26, 2007, The United States Supreme Court denied Arthur's motion to have the crime scene evidence DNA tested. ( A copy of this ruling will be available later) This decision was based on the fact that Arthur filed his habeas corpus petition late in 2001. This decision is based on the AEDPA (Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996) See AEDPA Law. "This law takes away the Supreme Court's power to review a court of appeal's denial of that permission, thus placing final authority for the filing of the petition in the hands of the federal court of appeals. So in the United States, there is no statue of limitations on conviction of murder, but there is a statue of limitations on proving your innocence". In 2001 ,when Arthur was late filing his habeas corpus, he did not have an attorney. Alabama is the only state in the United States that does not provide death row inmates the right to an attorney during post-conviction appeals (habeas corpus) and by the time he found an attorney to represent him pro-bono, his habeas corpus & rule 32 were filed late.
  66. November 26, 2007 Arthur filed a motion for stay of execution in the United States Supreme Court based on constitutionality of lethal injection. See Motion For Stay