August 30, 2008
Now we know why Alabama Governor Bob Riley refused to issue DNA testing orders for death-row inmate Thomas Arthur, even though he had granted a stay of execution: They can’t find the DNA to test.
Alabama’s Attorney General claims the evidence that could have exonerated Arthur is missing. Of course, missing doesn’t mean non-existent.
The state of Alabama doesn’t have laws requiring the preservation of evidence, but some local Alabama agencies — circuit court clerks and police units — do. According to reports by the Innocence Project, the state Attorney General’s office has made only cursory efforts to track down the evidence by contacting those other agencies. This would be consistent with their efforts in the case so far: they started looking for the evidence only six months ago, while Arthur has been requesting DNA testing for six years.
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