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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…

4th Tennessee death row inmate selects electric chair

Electric chair
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee death row inmate on Thursday selected electrocution for his upcoming execution, a move that would make him the fourth person in the state to choose that method over lethal injection since last year.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Correction confirmed that Lee Hall, formerly known as Leroy Hall Jr., requested the electric chair for his scheduled Dec. 5 execution.

In Tennessee, the state’s primary execution method is lethal injection but inmates can choose electrocution if they were convicted of crimes before January 1999.

Nationally, electrocution is a rarely-used option — partially due to it being legal in only six states. However, it’s a method that has been requested by three out of the five past death row inmates since Tennessee started resuming executions in August 2018.

Outside of Tennessee, the last time the electric chair was used in an execution was in 2013 in Virginia. 

Courts in Georgia and Nebraska have declared the electric chair unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court has never fully considered its constitutionality.

Hall was convicted of killing Traci Crozier in 1991 in Chattanooga. He set her car on fire while she was still inside. 

According to court documents, Crozier received burns to more than 90% of her body and died several hours later in the hospital.

Hall’s attorneys are currently fighting to block the execution date.

Tennessee performed three executions last year. It was second only to Texas, which carried out 13.

Most states have been moving away from the death penalty, but Tennessee’s attorney general has requested to schedule executions for nine death-row prisoners and restore a 10th inmate’s death sentence. Another execution has been scheduled for 2020.

Most recently, Tennessee put 56-year-old Stephen West to death by electric chair in August. 

West was convicted of the 1986 kidnappings and stabbing deaths of a mother and her 15-year-old daughter. He also was convicted of raping the teen.

Source: The Associated Press, Staff, November 7, 2019


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