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Thursday, April 8, 2010



The Nays of Ohio

In its continuing effort to be Texas, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued two decisions Monday.

Let's go back. Down in Texas, Hank Skinner sits on death row. He wants DNA tested because it should prove him innocent. Texas (which doesn't have to try to be like Texas) refuses because it should prove him innocent. OK, they don't say that's why. Actually, they don't offer any reason why. They just refuse. If Texas had its way, Hank would have been killed two weeks ago. Hank's alive because the buttinsky's at the U.S. Supreme Court said Texas couldn't kill him until we (they? SCOTUS) decided whether to hear his case about whether he should be allowed to pursue a lawsuit that would, if successful, require the DNA to be tested. There's a ton of stuff in the blawgs about the case. Bennett even made the mechanics understandable.

Here in Ohio, Darryl Durr sits on death row. He wants DNA tested in the hope that it will prove him innocent - or at least provide some support for that claim. (The tests that have been conducted provide no support for innocence or guilt.) Ohio refuses because, well, Texas would have said no.

OK, that's not really why. The judge held a hearing and decided that Durr didn't meet the statutory standards for forcing the DNA to be tested. He appealed. Except, see, what he really did was ask to appeal.

A prisoner facing death in Ohio has no right to appeal denial of DNA testing. He may ask the Ohio Supreme Court to hear an appeal, but they don't have to let him proceed. A prisoner with any other sentence, by contrast, has a right to appeal. You get that, right. We offer less legal review of a request for DNA testing by a person facing execution than for the same request by any other inmate. If that strikes you as deeply offensive, join the club.

So here's Darryl Durr. On death row. Due to be murdered in two weeks. He asked the Ohio Supremes to grant him a stay. He asked them to hear the appeal from the denial of DNA testing. Monday the court spoke.


And nope.

On to Washington, I suppose.

Darryl Durr. On death row. Due to be executed in two weeks. April 20. 10:00 a.m.

There's something left to test. And it just might be exculpatory.

WWTD: What would Texas Do? [Or WWJD: Pardon Durr's ass, and put the Ohio Supremes on Death Row! They're the same assholes who denied the people the right to contest the 2004 Election that would have made John Kerry President.]

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