Thursday, 1 January 2009

We ask for your help to save an innocent man's life. Larry Swearingen is scheduled to be executed on January 27, 2009 by the State of Texas

Dear Friends & fellow Abolitionists in the U.S.,

We'd like to ask for your help to save an innocent man's life. Larry
Swearingen is scheduled to be executed on January 27, 2009 by the State
of Texas despite the fact that he didn't kill anyone.

Larry is blessed by having very dear and loyal friends who helped and
supported him all through the years, unfortunately most of them are in
Overseas/Europe. We were able to support the attorneys and forensic
experts by doing research, working to help discovering new evidence. Now
at this stage Larry is in URGENT need for IMMEDIATE PUBLIC ATTENTION on
his case, and needs support from you, concerned US citizens.

You can help by spreading the Petition link on the internet. Please send
letters, e-mails, faxes or make phone calls to your local and national
media, TV and radio stations. Raise your voice and express your
displeasure and anger about the injustice taking place in this case. The
media has to point a finger at this outrageous crime that the State of
Texas plans to commit against a wrongly convicted man.

We oppose the death penalty unconditionally in all cases since it is an
affront to human dignity. However, the execution of an innocent man is
the ultimative catastrophe in a civilized country and society since it
can happen to any of us.

The cases of Troy Davis in Georgia and Jeff Wood in Texas shown so far
what is possible when people stand up, and we're watching the development
of these cases intently from Europe. Today we're turning to you with our
plea to please stand up and raise your voice for Larry Swearingen to stop
the insanity of state sanctioned murder.

In Solidarity and gratitude,
Wiebke Swearingen & Erwann Doulin
on behalf of the Larry Swearingen Support Group



Please read what Dr. Glenn Larkin M.D. (Forensic Pathologist) has to say:

As the original forensic pathologist who reviewed Larry's claim of
innocence, I concluded from the evidence4 presented to me that Ms Trotter
was not dead the about 25 days as concluded by Dr Carter. Now with three
other forensic pathologist confirming mu opinion that Ms Trotter was not
dead the "about 25 days" as Dr Carter originally testified to, and her
affidavit agreeing with the 4 of us, there is uncontroversial, unrefuted
absolute evidence of Larry's innocence.

Furthermore, the charge of sexual assault, one of the aggravators, had to
be dropped through a misdiagnosis by Dr Carter. She was honest enough to
revise her opin ions in a new affidavit.

It is not usual for a forensic pathologist to crusade for a felon on
appeal, but I would be shrinking from my responsibility as a human, a
physician and a Christian if I remained silent and allowed Larry to be
murdered by the state of Texas, and I will not be silent.

The execution of an innocent person is an obcene, immoral and illegal act
, and the CCA's refusal to consider Larry's strong appeal on the grounds
that it untimely has no legal, no moral and no other justification;
indeed case law (Herrera v Collins) orders plenary review --- bolstered
by several of US Supreme Court decisions.

The explanation that the state offers to account for the blood samples
under Ms Trotter's finger nails is pure fantasy, as any forensic
pathologist will conclude.

In order to expose this horrible nightmare, letters---letters in
droves--- have to be sent to Texas newspapers, TV stations and elsewhere.
A duplication of the execution of To dd Cameron Willingham cannot be
repeated. The honor of Texas is at stake.

G M Larkin MD
Charlotte NC

Innocence Project lost funding in Madoff case

Thursday, Jan 1, 2009
Posted on Thu, Jan. 01, 2009

Innocence Project lost funding in Madoff case


After seeing money earmarked for DNA testing get swept away in the Bernard Madoff scandal, the chief counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas is calling on state lawmakers to improve overall funding for agencies investigating cases of inmates who may have been wrongfully convicted.
Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas at Texas Tech University, said so much more could be done to resolve the cases if the Texas Legislature spent a small fraction of the $2.3 billion it currently spends on operating the prisons.

"The current system is not workable and needs more funding," Blackburn said. "And all this Madoff scandal illustrates is how the state itself, which after all created this problem, needs to step up and solve it."

Freezing grants

The Innocence Project was awarded a $450,000 grant from the New York-based JEHT Foundation in June to pay for DNA testing and expenses related to work on cases being reviewed by the Dallas County district attorney.

But JEHT, a nonprofit group that focused mostly on juvenile justice, said it was freezing its grants and would shut down at the end of January because its major donor’s investments had been managed by Madoff, a storied Wall Street money manager who was once the chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Madoff was arrested and accused by federal prosecutors of running a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors. In December, a federal judge ordered that the assets of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities be liquidated and moved to bankruptcy court.

Natalie Roetzel of the Innocence Project said they were supposed to get $250,000 over two years for DNA testing, staffing and equipment for the Dallas County part of their project. She said that the Innocence Project spends $4,000 to $5,000 on DNA tests for each case.

She said that not all of the money from JEHT had been paid out to the Innocence Project and that they are still going through documents to determine how many installments had been paid. She said the New York foundation told them that whatever they had received was theirs to keep.

Roetzel said that they are still trying to determine how it will affect any cases they are working on and that they will have to go back through their $150,000 budget and possibly reallocate money for the Dallas County cases. So far, DNA testing has exonerated 19 men in Dallas.

"We’re trying to determine how this will impact us and deciding which cases are the highest priority, which will mean putting some cases on the back burner, and it could mean someone will spend more time in prison," she said.

Coordinated effort

Grant applications have been submitted to the nonprofit Meadows Foundation in Dallas and to the Texas Bar Foundation, a philanthropic group run by the State Bar of Texas for the advancement of the justice system.

Blackburn said the Innocence Project of Texas and similar organizations wouldn’t have to scramble for money if the state adequately funded their efforts. Currently, the four innocence projects run at four Texas law schools, with each getting $100,000 a year. Their efforts aren’t coordinated to maximize their impact, he said.

"The prison system is asking the Legislature to give it $500 million more this year for increased salaries to maintain its current level of operations. One five-hundredth of that amount — $1 million — would guarantee that the innocence work in this state could go forward," Blackburn said.

Blackburn recommends that the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense be given additional money for investigating actual innocence cases and that it take a more active role in managing the projects.

The other innocence projects are at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.

"So far, the state of Texas has gotten close to a free ride because we’ve had to scramble for other money to operate and to investigate these cases," he said.


Innocence Project of Texas Individuals wanting to donate money to the Innocence Project of Texas for DNA testing and other operational expenses can make tax-deductible donations to the group’s offices at 1511 Texas Ave., Lubbock, TX 79401.