Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Judges Getting It Right and Prosecutors Getting it Wrong and Testing and Believing the Fucking DNA

As Paul Kennedy wrote this morning,
Judge tells state to just test the damn DNA
which appears not to be exactly true, but hell, it was a headline.  And it sure looks like he's about to tell them to test it.

It's from Larry Swearingen's case, the one where nine (9!) forensic pathologists examined the autopsy results and concluded that the evidence clearly showed that he was innocent.  You know, because he was in jail when someone (but not he) killed Melissa Trotter.  And now it looks like they'll finally test the DNA.  And really, it's about time and getting awfully close since the good people of Texas were meaning to kill him in less than a month.  And of course the prosecutor is on their side because who gives a rat's ass about innocence, after all, when the chance for killin' is so close.

Meanwhile, up here in the Buckeye State, the Honorable Judge Judy Hunter issued a 26 page opinion explaining that since the DNA showed Douglas Prade (about who I've written before) is innocent, well then.
 [T]he evidence that the Defendant presented in his case is clear and convincing.  Based on the review of the conclusive Y-STR DNA test results and the evidence from the 1998 trial, the Court is firmly convinced that no reasonable juror would convict the Defendant for the crime of aggravated murder with a firearm.  The Court concludes as a matter of law that the Defendant is actually innocent of aggravated murder.  As such, the Court overturns the Defendant's convictions for aggravated murder with a firearms specification and he shall be discharged from prison forthwith.
. . .
The Court finds that no reasonable juror, when carefully considering all available evidence in the underlying trial in light of the new Y-STR DNA exclusion evidence, would be firmly convinced that  that Defendant Douglas Prade was guilty of aggravated murder with a firearm.  Given such a scenario, the outcome of the deliberation on these offenses would be different - the verdict forms would be completed with a finding of not guilty.
(Emphasis added.)

Which is almost as good as it gets.  Except that the prosecutor is appealing.  Because, after all, you can't let a simple thing like innocence get in the way of keeping a guy in prison for life.

Or for death, if you're talking about Larry Swearingen.
   Prade ruling by  



Douglas Prade - Released
Larry Swearingen - On Death Row

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