USA | States Continue to Oppose DNA Testing in Death Penalty Appeals, Attorneys Ask Why Don’t They Want to Learn the Truth?

The last 3 men scheduled for execution in Georgia said they did not commit the killing and that DNA testing that was not available at the time of trial could prove it. In 2 of the cases, victim family members supported the request for testing. Prosecutors opposed the requests, and the courts refused to allow the testing. 2 of the 3 men were executed, with doubts still swirling as to their guilt.
Shawn Nolan, a federal defender who represented Georgia prisoner Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, summed up the sentiments of the prisoners, families, and defense attorneys in these cases. “I’d like to know what the state is so scared of,” he said. “Why are they afraid of the truth? This is sad and so disturbing.”
“We have the capability of testing a wide range of forensic evidence that we couldn’t test in the past,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham. “It is a powerful tool to get to the truth and to get important answers as to whether the criminal legal system has b…

California Plans New Death Row Costing $356 Million

San Quentin's brand new execution chamber
San Quentin's brand new execution chamber
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has earmarked $136 million in additional funds to build a new death row at San Quentin State Prison.

In 2003, the California State Legislature had authorized $220 million for the same project, but the plans were put aside when cost estimates increased. The current estimate is $356 million to complete the construction of the 768 new cells needed to reduce San Quentin's significant overcrowding.

California already has the largest death row in the country, with approximately 660 inmates. In 30 years, the state has carried out 13 executions.

Many members of the legislature oppose spending such a large amount of money on death row facilities. Assemblyman Jared Huffman said he was "extremely disappointed" by the budget allocation, especially given that Gov. Schwarzenegger has also proposed budget cuts to social programs.

Steve Kinsey, Supervisor of Marin County, California, also noted, "At a time when the governor's budget is going to put children on the street, it is absurd to be spending $400,000 a bed for condemned prisoners."

Source: $136 million requested for new death row at San Quentin, Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, January 10, 2008

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