AND DEMAND DNA TESTING.
Governor Perry signed SB 122 into law on June 17, 2011. This bill is intended to ensure that if DNA evidence is available to prove someone’s innocence, it can and will be tested. This revised post-conviction DNA law was authored and sponsored by legislators who strongly supported the bill for cases like Hank Skinner’s who is set for execution on November 9, 2011. Senator Ellis, who authored the bill, stated in an interview this week that he does not understand how the court could continue to deny Mr. Skinner’s request, which he said his recent legislation would allow.
Gov. Perry, who has presided over 237 executions since taking office in 2001, must ensure that the criminal justice reforms he supports be implemented. In this respect, 17 former and current Texas elected officials as well as 27 exonerees have sent letters to Governor Perry to express their serious concerns about the lack of justice in Mr. Skinner’s case. While Rick Perry campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination, Justice4Hank urges him to do the right thing for justice and for the truth in Texas, before it is too late.
- March 7, 2011 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Mr. Skinner’s favor by 6 votes to 3.
- April 4, 2011 – The U.S. Supreme Court lifts the stay and remands the case to the lower court.
- May 20, 2011 – The Texas House approves SB 122, legislation by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) to strengthen Texas’ post-conviction DNA testing law.
- June 2, 2011 – Gray County D.A. Lynn Switzer, the defendant in the civil lawsuit, files a motion for summary judgment as well as a brief in support of her motion.
- June 17, 2011 – Governor Perry signs SB 122 into law.
- July 21, 2011 – Gray County D.A. Lynn Switzer files a declaration under oath.
- July 27, 2011 – Sentencing Judge Emmert issues a new death warrant for a November 9 execution.
- September 1, 2011 – SB 122 becomes effective.
- September 2, 2011 – Hank Skinner’s attorneys file a motion for DNA testing under the revised statutes as well as a motion to withdraw the death warrant.
- November 2, 2011 – Judge Emmert, without any explanation, denies the new motion for DNA testing.