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

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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…

Nevada Gov. Sandoval, stop Dozier's execution: Viloria

Ely state prison, Nevada
As a prosecutor with the original Major Violators Unit of the Washoe County District Attorney's office, I sought the death penalty in 5 1st-degree murder cases. I have great respect for the rule of law.

I am disturbed that the State of Nevada is about to resume executions after an 11-year hiatus.

Much has changed since the last execution was conducted in April 2006. The drugs historically used in lethal injection are no longer available due to manufacturers' unwillingness to have their products used in executions. A dozen states have repealed their death penalty laws or imposed moratoria on pursuing new death sentences. Most states are not using the death penalty even if it is still in their laws.

Yet on Nov. 14, the State of Nevada is planning to put Scott Dozier to death, based on his wish to die.

I am especially appalled to read the state intends to use a combination of drugs on Mr. Dozier that has never before been used in an execution. Under these experimental circumstances, the risk of a botched execution is real (one in which the inmate dies, but the process is seriously mishandled). Prison staff has not conducted any execution in over a decade, let alone with this unusual combination of drugs. The untested drug combination, which involves a paralytic, an opioid and an anti-anxiety drug, also creates the likelihood that the execution will cause unnecessary and cruel suffering.

It should be remembered Mr. Dozier is a "volunteer" - he has asked the state to assist in his suicide. If the state cannot currently find suitable (not experimental) drugs for an execution, Mr. Dozier will remain in prison where he should be.

As a former prosecutor, I hope that the governor understands what an enormous risk it is to allow the Department of Corrections to proceed with the execution of Scott Dozier using an experimental combination of drugs.

I would urge Governor Sandoval to stop this execution from going forward based on grave concerns about the possibility of an unconstitutional or bungled execution.

Source: Reno Gazette Journal, October 31, 2017. Mr. Viloria prosecuted death penalty cases in the Major Violators unit of the Washoe County District Attorney's office. He is now in private practice in Reno.


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