Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Frances Newton

Frances Newton is scheduled to be executed in Texas on December 1st, 2004. Newton’s conviction was another product of the infamous Houston Police Department Crime Lab, a lab which has been notorious in sloppy DNA work that has resulted in numerous false convictions. Newton's attorneys have requested a 120 day reprieve so her attorneys can investigate some of the holes in the forensic evidence that were the basis of her conviction. Prosecutors, however, oppose giving Newton any time even though technological developments would allow new testing to differentiate between gunpowder residue (as the Prosecutors insist was found on Newton’s clothes) or garden manure (which is what Newton insists it was).

There are also serious effectiveness of counsel issues here, as there seem to be in virtually every Texas death penalty case.

Whatever you think about the death penalty, there is no reason not to grant this woman 120 days to determine for sure whether, in fact, the forensic evidence really supports the conviction. Amnesty International can help you send a letter to Governor Perry and Rissie L. Owens, Presiding Officer of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, here.

(via blogAmy)