UPDATE~DNA Results Negative; When Will Thomas Arthur Be Freed?
THOMAS ARTHUR has spent 25 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Advanced DNA testing methods have been available for about 20 years, but Arthur was denied the right to test until April 2009 when Judge Pulliam ordered that Arthur's test would be allowed. The results are in, and they were negative. Arthur has been excluded as the source of the DNA evidence that was tested. According to the information available at the condemned man's website, there are still hurdles to climb. See the italicized text below.
Now that the DNA testing ordered by Judge Pulliam has been completed, she will now decide if Thomas Arthur should be allowed a new hearing on his case. A new hearing would allow Thomas Arthur to present additional evidence that has never been seen or heard by any jury.
Additional DNA evidence that includes blood, hair and semen was recovered and still exists, but it has never been DNA tested. Yet the State of Alabama not only REFUSES to DNA test the crime scene evidence---but it is refusing to allow Arthur to have the evidence DNA tested at HIS EXPENSE.
See Arthur's website for more information:
THOMAS ARTHUR'S FIGHT FOR LIFE - http://www.thomasarthurfightforlife.com/
All but three states now give inmates post-conviction DNA testing rights. Unfortunately, some states reserve the right to test for condemned inmates only. This means that innocent people like Joseph Fears could be incarcerated forever for the lack of testing. Fears, 61, was exonerated after 25 years imprisonment on a rape conviction. He was freed from an Ohio correctional facility in February when DNA evidence proved his innocence. Like Author, Fears spent 20 years incarcerated after advanced DNA testing methods became available.
Guv: Death Penalty Dead in NM; DNA Frees Joseph Fears of OH
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 against giving all inmates post-conviction testing rights in June in the Osbourne case; therefore, testing rights remain a matter for each state to decide. The Innocence Project holds that all inmates whose cases could be conclusively decided by DNA evidence should be given the right to test. Since this was not made law by the Supreme Court, it is important to work with state legislatures and governors to bring about the needed Change. The Innocence Project launched a petition to elicit public support around the issue and carries the following message on its website:
There are two ways you can help today:
— Donate to the Innocence Project to help us pass and improve DNA testing laws across the country. https://secure2.convio.net/ip/site/Donation2?idb=1218337582&df_id=1160&1160.donation=form1
— Sign our petition supporting access to DNA testing in every case where it can prove innocence. http://ip.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=DNAAccessPetition
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressed the belief that DNA testing rights should be expanded in his address to the 34th Annual D.C. Courts’ Judicial Conference following the Supreme Court's Osbourne ruling. See below:
The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
June 19, 2009
AG Holder: DNA Evidence Can Exonerate the Wrongfully Charged
The day after the Supreme Court ruled defendants have no constitutional right to a review of DNA evidence in post-conviction proceedings, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. underscored the Justice Department position that seeks to expand access to DNA evidence in the courts.
Addressing the 34th Annual D.C. Courts’ Judicial Conference today in Washington, Holder, the keynote speaker, spoke about the impact of technological advances on the administration of justice, and he vowed the Justice Department will embrace science and technology.
Law enforcement, Holder told the audience, which was brimming with local and federal judges, is placing “more emphasis on DNA evidence than ever before” in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases.
“And we are mindful that DNA evidence can be used to exonerate those who are wrongfully charged,” Holder said today. “Our mission at the Justice Department is not simply to win cases. It is to do justice, and science and DNA can help us accomplish this.”
UPDATED - DNA Test Granted! Thomas Arthur Grated Stay of Execution
HOLD OFF ON THE LETHAL INJECTION! The Alabama Supreme Court granted Thomas Arthur a stay of execution Wednesday, which saved this condemned man from being executed at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 31. The justices granted the stay by a narrow margin, 5 to 4. The stay was granted after another jail inmate submitted an affidavit saying that he actually committed the murder for which Arthur was to be executed tomorrow.
Governor Riley has been bombarded with requests from death penalty opponents to allow Thomas Arthur the opportunity to test the DNA evidence that he said would prove his innocence. At the time when Arthur was convicted of this crime, DNA testing was not available, and he has been denied any opportunity to test the evidence to date.
The stay of execution by Alabama Supreme Court is being referred to by Associated Press as a “postponement.” Hopefully, during this interim, Arthur will be allowed to finally test the DNA evidence.
UPDATE ~ August 7, 2008
Arthur is still denied access to the evidence for DNA testing, and King wants Arthur's stay of execution lifted, despite the other man's confession to the crime. Read:
http://www.waaytv. com/Global/ story.asp? S=8807706
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Attorney General Troy King has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to lift its stay of execution for 66-year-old Thomas Arthur and set a new execution date. Arthur's execution was halted last week on the eve of his scheduled lethal injection.
UPDATE - 8/14/08: DNA Evidence Lost!
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley should lead the way in trying to figure out what happened to rape evidence in the capital murder case against Thomas Arthur.
THE ISSUE: Gov. Bob Riley should lead the way in trying to figure out what happened to rape evidence in the capital murder case against Thomas Arthur. Gov. Bob Riley never has been inclined to order DNA tests requested by inmates on Death Row. - See Birmingham News Articles
See more about Thomas Arthur case at this link:
UPDATE - April 2009 - Good news from The Innocence Project!
Tommy Arthur may finally get justice in Alabama.
As you know, Arthur has been on death row for more than a quarter-century for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Last week, an Alabama judge ordered the DNA tests that could prove his innocence or guilt. This is a major development in the case and your voice helped make it happen.
By taking action on Arthur’s case, you helped raise awareness about his case and the issue of wrongful convictions in Alabama and across the country. Our work has an impact because you stand with us against injustice, and we deeply appreciate your support.
In Arthur’s case, the testimony of one witness was central to the conviction, and DNA testing could confirm her version of events or prove Arthur’s innocence. Another man has also confessed to committing the murder alone, and DNA testing has the potential to corroborate his confession. The tests should be completed within 45 days. Learn more about his case here.**********************************
Birmingham News - April 21, 2009
If Bobby Ray Gilbert is telling the truth, Thomas Arthur has spent years on Death Row -- and three times has come within a day of being executed -- for a murder he didn't commit.
But is Gilbert telling the truth?
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa Pulliam clearly has doubts. Gilbert, who is serving a life-without-parole sentence for other crimes, confessed to the 1982 shooting of Troy Wicker last summer, right before Arthur was to be put to death for the crime in his third close call with the execution chamber.
In a court hearing last week, Gilbert authenticated a sworn statement he had given about Wicker's murder but otherwise took the Fifth. That didn't make a good impression on the judge.
Pulliam could have left it at that, but she didn't.
She ordered DNA tests on a few pieces of surviving evidence in the case that could verify Gilbert's confession. "I have the advantage and the opportunity to have science perhaps disprove my preliminary feeling about Mr. Gilbert's affidavit," Pulliam said. "Because I do have that opportunity, I'm going to let science do its work."
There are presently 237 former inmates who were exornerated.
THANK YOU, JUDGE PULLIAM, FOR YOUR JUST RULING. HAPPY HEROES DAY!
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
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