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…

Attorneys for El Paso Walmart shooting suspect entered a not guilty plea in response to federal charges

Patrick Crusius
(CNN) -- Attorneys for the man accused of killing 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, last year have pleaded not guilty to 90 federal charges on his behalf, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Texas said.

Wednesday, Patrick Crusius walked inside an El Paso federal courtroom for the first time after being indicted last week on hate crimes and firearm charges in connection with the August 3 massacre.

He appeared before US Magistrate Judge Miguel Torres wearing a suit, handcuffed and in shackles and remained silent as several people who survived the shooting sat in the courtroom, CNN affiliate KFOX reported.

Later Wednesday, Crusius' attorneys filed a written not guilty plea to all charges and waived his right to a detention hearing, meaning he will remain in custody without bond.

Speaking to reporters outside the federal court, Crusius' attorney David Lane said, "All I can say is we are starting this process and our job is to protect your constitutional rights as well that of the accused."

"We are going to do everything in our power to preserve protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America," he added, KFOX reported.

CNN has reached out to Crusius' attorneys for comment.

The alleged shooter is facing hate crimes resulting in death, hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, use of a firearm to commit murder and in relation to a crime of violence, and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to his indictment.

The charges relate to the 22 people who were killed in the mass shooting as well as 23 other victims who survived.

Federal prosecutors have said the alleged shooter could face the death penalty on each of the charges linked to the people who were killed and up to life in prison for the charges involving the surviving victims.

He previously pleaded not guilty to a state capital murder charge. El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza has said he intends to seek the death penalty. Capital murder is the most serious charge in Texas and prosecutors can use it when a defendant is accused of killing multiple victims.

Source: CNN, Nicole Chavez and Dave Alsup, February 13, 2020

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