Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement
PO Box 3454
Houston, TX 77253
Meetings: 1st Tuesdays, S.H.A.P.E. Center, 3815 Live Oak, 7—9 PM
April 19, 2010
Contact: Gloria Rubac, 713-503-2633
2:00 PM Press Conference re: Supreme Court Ruling on Texas Death Row Prisoner’s Cert Petition; Accepting Cert Could Validate Hank Skinner’s Innocence Claims
The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement will have a press conference today to discuss the Supreme Court decision whether or not to accept the cert petition of Hank Skinner. The press conference will be at 2:00 PM at S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, 3815 Live Oak at Alabama.
At 10:00 AM today , the U.S. Supreme Court will announce if they accepted a writ of certiorari from Texas death row prisoner Hank Skinner who received a stay of execution just minutes before he was to be put to death in Huntsville on March 24.
If the court does accept Skinner’s writ, oral arguments would likely take place in the fall of 2010. If they do not accept to hear his petition, a new execution date could be set in 30 days.
The question before the court is what legal process prisoners can use when seeking DNA testing. In Texas the courts have ruled that those seeking DNA testing must ask for it in their Habeas petition, which is most unlikely to be granted by the courts governing Texas death row.
Skinner filed a civil law suit after the Gray County District Attorney in Pampa, Texas, after he requested she release the DNA evidence so he could have it tested. He was willing to pay for the testing—all he needed was the evidence. She refused and he took it to civil court. Since then, a testing lab in Arizona offered to do the testing and have results to Gov. Rick Perry in 30 days.
If Skinner wins—and the Supreme Court rules that he can use civil rights law to obtain DNA evidence—it would open the door for many other prisoners to obtain post-conviction DNA testing.
Skinner’s advocate and wife, Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, will participate in the press conference via telephone from her home in Paris, France.
Further information, including Skinner’s cert petition can be found at www.hankskinner.org