Will the Supreme Court force Texas to allow scientific testing?

Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they will hear the case of Henry “Hank” Skinner. Skinner, on Texas death row since 1993, is arguing that he should be allowed to use federal civil rights law to obtain DNA testing that might establish his innocence.  The hearing will take place this Fall.
 
Skinner’s guilt has been in question since the time of his conviction, and DNA testing, if allowed, could well provide some answers. Prosecutors have tried to prevent Skinner from getting the evidence tested, while Skinner’s lawyers have tried to use civil rights litigation to gain access to the DNA evidence.  As noted previously in this space, such efforts to suppress scientific inquiry that could resolve doubts and answer questions are nothing new in the Lone Star State.

In 1993, Henry Skinner was convicted in Texas of murdering his girlfriend and her two sons.  Although present when the three victims were murdered, Skinner argues he was intoxicated and passed out, thus incapable of committing the crimes. Skinner continues to seek DNA testing of crime scene evidence that has not yet been scientifically examined, and the testing of which he claims would clear him. In March, Skinner was less than an hour away from execution when the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay in order to have time to consider the petition they have just agreed to hear.

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20 thoughts on “Will the Supreme Court force Texas to allow scientific testing?

  1. We already know that innocent men have been let out of Death Row because of DNA testing and the man has the right. No one should be put to death, period…but as long as we have this barbaric bs practice, putting someone to death w/out proving it with DNA should NOT at all be allowed!! Oh, but wait…if we do the test and he's innocent, this will only prove that our system is faulty and someday society may catch on and start thinking it's not really a good idea. And the system doesn't want that, does it?

  2. We already know that innocent men have been let out of Death Row because of DNA testing and the man has the right. No one should be put to death, period…but as long as we have this barbaric bs practice, putting someone to death w/out proving it with DNA should NOT at all be allowed!! Oh, but wait…if we do the test and he’s innocent, this will only prove that our system is faulty and someday society may catch on and start thinking it’s not really a good idea. And the system doesn’t want that, does it?

  3. I would just like to say, who else is a likely suspect? There is one wasted man, and three dead bodies, so he claims he was too wasted to murder, or remember murdering. Either way, I do think that there should be some type of a death penalty. The overpopulation of this planet is a clear contribution to the destruction human beings have imposed upon this planet. Until they start making people take tests like they would to drive a car, or get into a school, or apply for a job position, when it come to having children, then I am all for the death penalty. Teenage pregnancy is an epidemic in this country, and we have education and freedom, and laws to protect us from social confines. But, in many other countries, they have this same epidemic, only with no education, no food, no rights, no birth certificates, no contraception, and often no medical attention. Clearly, something has got to give, or inmates and infants alike will all parish, and the blood is on the hands on mankind. It is not like back in the good ol' days when nature took care of natural selection, and species on species survival. This is having babies either because of lack of contraceptive education, or because one thinks "it's cool, and Brittney Spears has two of them! So why can't me and my high school boyfriend be like them?" I am so sorry to be the one to say this, but I believe the rate of unplanned pregnancies and "let's make peace, not war, and DOWN WITH THE DEATH PENALTY" are one in the same. Like I said, it just comes down to numbers and science. We cannot sustain this lifestyle. Let criminals kill each other, let warriors on missions of faith go to war, and kill each other. Trying to save everyone is not an option. Test people before giving them the right to drive, but not before they have the right to raise a child that will cost over 250,000 dollars before college. Kids and even adults don't know this. Or if they do, they don't care. They just take out second and third mortgages to pay for University. Seriously, I meant it, and I believe it when I say that something's gotta give. Or else we are all toast.
    One love,
    Victoria Persichetti

  4. Not sure if issues aren't getting mixed up here. If science offers a new methodology to determine guilt or innocence, does Texas want blood on its hands for executing a potentially innocent man? In canada in the last 10 yrs we've exonerated 2 men w/ new evidence and DNA Testing who were on life sentence for murder convictions. Thankfully we did not execute them as we don't have the death penalty.
    Population control is an entirely different issue that requires education and emancipation of women

    I understand the feeling to let criminal and warring elements kill each other but there are so many innocent victims in their way- whether the women raped in the Sudan, the young boys forced into becoming boy soldiers or the innocent passerby caught in gang drive-by shootings in any major city in North America

  5. @ Michelle
    I totally agree with you. It just scares me a little bit that so many people have no idea the population control is so OUT of control. The violence that ensues in prison, and war, and throughout nations in poverty is undeniable. I just had to play a bit of the devil's advocate on this one, because it is so very close to my heart. I wanted to be a pediatrician my entire life, and I have actually been turned off to babies because of documentaries about teen pregnancy and overpopulation. It makes me too depressed!! I hope that there is a happy medium. . . and I hope it is this existence.
    One Love,
    Victoria Leigh Persichetti

  6. I would just like to say, who else is a likely suspect? There is one wasted man, and three dead bodies, so he claims he was too wasted to murder, or remember murdering. Either way, I do think that there should be some type of a death penalty. The overpopulation of this planet is a clear contribution to the destruction human beings have imposed upon this planet. Until they start making people take tests like they would to drive a car, or get into a school, or apply for a job position, when it come to having children, then I am all for the death penalty. Teenage pregnancy is an epidemic in this country, and we have education and freedom, and laws to protect us from social confines. But, in many other countries, they have this same epidemic, only with no education, no food, no rights, no birth certificates, no contraception, and often no medical attention. Clearly, something has got to give, or inmates and infants alike will all parish, and the blood is on the hands on mankind. It is not like back in the good ol’ days when nature took care of natural selection, and species on species survival. This is having babies either because of lack of contraceptive education, or because one thinks “it’s cool, and Brittney Spears has two of them! So why can’t me and my high school boyfriend be like them?” I am so sorry to be the one to say this, but I believe the rate of unplanned pregnancies and “let’s make peace, not war, and DOWN WITH THE DEATH PENALTY” are one in the same. Like I said, it just comes down to numbers and science. We cannot sustain this lifestyle. Let criminals kill each other, let warriors on missions of faith go to war, and kill each other. Trying to save everyone is not an option. Test people before giving them the right to drive, but not before they have the right to raise a child that will cost over 250,000 dollars before college. Kids and even adults don’t know this. Or if they do, they don’t care. They just take out second and third mortgages to pay for University. Seriously, I meant it, and I believe it when I say that something’s gotta give. Or else we are all toast.
    One love,
    Victoria Persichetti

  7. I am not sure I understand what you are advocating here…the issue is the near execution of a possibly innocent man. What is most distressing is the conviction seems more important than the truth…the idea is supposed to be to punish the bad guys…not satisfy public thirst for blood. Texas continues to be devoid of common sense laws…as well as law enforcement.

    As for population controls, there are a lot of contributing factors. I am sure you are aware POVERTY is one of the largest contributors outside of lack of (reproductive) education…so if we can fix that, it would help, no?

  8. Not sure if issues aren’t getting mixed up here. If science offers a new methodology to determine guilt or innocence, does Texas want blood on its hands for executing a potentially innocent man? In canada in the last 10 yrs we’ve exonerated 2 men w/ new evidence and DNA Testing who were on life sentence for murder convictions. Thankfully we did not execute them as we don’t have the death penalty.
    Population control is an entirely different issue that requires education and emancipation of women

    I understand the feeling to let criminal and warring elements kill each other but there are so many innocent victims in their way- whether the women raped in the Sudan, the young boys forced into becoming boy soldiers or the innocent passerby caught in gang drive-by shootings in any major city in North America

  9. Your argument is nothing new, who doesn't know that poverty is one of the major factors, in every aspect of life? As for your criticism of Texas law enforcement, have you ever worn a badge, has a family member, or perhaps you've been on the wrong side? ( I can answer the affirmative in all three circumstances).
    Furthermore the details of the case, as posted by Brian Evans of Amnesty International are oblique at best, one might even go so far as to question his objectivity in the matter of "Hank" Skinner. I lived in Texas at the time of both the crime, and subsequent conviction and sentencing, but then again we're "devoid" of common sense, no? So when we (mankind) "fix" the problem, you'll be sure to let us know, right?

  10. @ Michelle
    I totally agree with you. It just scares me a little bit that so many people have no idea the population control is so OUT of control. The violence that ensues in prison, and war, and throughout nations in poverty is undeniable. I just had to play a bit of the devil’s advocate on this one, because it is so very close to my heart. I wanted to be a pediatrician my entire life, and I have actually been turned off to babies because of documentaries about teen pregnancy and overpopulation. It makes me too depressed!! I hope that there is a happy medium. . . and I hope it is this existence.
    One Love,
    Victoria Leigh Persichetti

  11. I am not sure I understand what you are advocating here…the issue is the near execution of a possibly innocent man. What is most distressing is the conviction seems more important than the truth…the idea is supposed to be to punish the bad guys…not satisfy public thirst for blood. Texas continues to be devoid of common sense laws…as well as law enforcement.

    As for population controls, there are a lot of contributing factors. I am sure you are aware POVERTY is one of the largest contributors outside of lack of (reproductive) education…so if we can fix that, it would help, no?

  12. Your argument is nothing new, who doesn’t know that poverty is one of the major factors, in every aspect of life? As for your criticism of Texas law enforcement, have you ever worn a badge, has a family member, or perhaps you’ve been on the wrong side? ( I can answer the affirmative in all three circumstances).
    Furthermore the details of the case, as posted by Brian Evans of Amnesty International are oblique at best, one might even go so far as to question his objectivity in the matter of “Hank” Skinner. I lived in Texas at the time of both the crime, and subsequent conviction and sentencing, but then again we’re “devoid” of common sense, no? So when we (mankind) “fix” the problem, you’ll be sure to let us know, right?

  13. Thanks for the well-thought article. I am actually at work at the moment! So I need to go off without reading all I'd like. However, I put your blog on my google feed so that I can read even more.

  14. Thanks for the well-thought article. I am actually at work at the moment! So I need to go off without reading all I’d like. However, I put your blog on my google feed so that I can read even more.