Thursday, April 27, 2006

The President's $1 Billion Effort to Support DNA testing

In 2001, the President proposed a $1 Billion effort to use DNA testing to solve cold cases and increase confidence in the convictions of those serving time or on death row for crimes where DNA evidence is available. Congress has funded more than $200 million in support of the initiative already. The plan allows not only for better use of DNA testing at trials, but also in post-conviction cases like Mr. Conner's. The President's efforts acknowledge that

DNA testing makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing had been inconclusive.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jerry Conner hits the N&O's Op-Ed Page

In today's Raleigh News and Observer, Duke Public Policy Professor Don Taylor asks for the public's help in getting a new DNA test. Dr. Taylor writes:

There is still time for a DNA test prior to the May 12 execution. We the people need to demand that our elected officials do not carry out this execution without first having all the information that is available to them and in their control.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Conner asks the NC Supreme Court to Grant DNA Test

After being denied a DNA test by the Superior Court following the District Attorney's objection to a re-test, the case is now in the hands of the NC Supreme Court. The position opposing a DNA test has now been adopted by Attorney General Roy Cooper's office. Perhaps Mr. Cooper was hesitant to interfere when the litigation was being pursued locally, but why continue to be so obstinate now that it's in front of the Supreme Court and it's his office filing the papers?

Jerry Conner's execution is scheduled for three weeks from today. There's still time to get results from a DNA test without delaying the execution.

Use the Take Action menu now. Both the Governor and the Attorney General have the power to allow for testing and prevent injury to the public's confidence in our criminal justice system.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Clarifying the News

The A.P. story that is being picked up EVERYWHERE is reporting that Mr. Conner's attorneys will be asking the Governor for DNA testing on May 2, at the clemency hearing. A not so close reading of the letter actually reveals that the letter itself is asking for the Governor's assistance to secure DNA testing, and in fact says clearly that will "his attorneys will not petition for clemency, nor will we appear on his behalf at a clemency hearing until a DNA test is conducted and the results are returned."

The way the press has picked this up implies that the legal team is willing to wait until May 2nd. This misconception plays right into the idea that this is only an attempt to delay the executation. A central part of the effort to secure testing has always been, "do it now and nothing gets delayed."

46 Duke students can be tested in a week. How long could it take to do just one?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Conner to Governor: Do a DNA Test Before Clemency Hearing UPDATED

News Update--Read the News and Observer Coverage picked up by the Myrtle Beach Sun News

April 5, 2006

Governor Michael F. Easley
State Capitol
116 W. Jones St.
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-0301

Re: Jerry Conner

Dear Governor Easley:

We are writing on behalf of Mr. Conner in response to the scheduling letter issued by your office for clemency proceedings. Mr. Conner is scheduled to be executed by the State of North Carolina on May 12th and a clemency hearing is scheduled for May 2nd. Mr. Conner requests your assistance in facilitating a DNA test of physical evidence in the possession of the State.

We believe that the prosecution has unreasonably opposed this testing and a Superior Court Judge has unfairly denied Mr. Conner access to the evidence for purposes of conducting the test. What is the harm in allowing a DNA test? We believe that this test will show, one way or another, whether Jerry Conner is guilty of these crimes. Such a test, if permitted now, will not delay Mr. Conner’s execution if the results are unfavorable. If the results are favorable, we have no doubt that you and every fair-minded citizen of North Carolina will want to halt the execution.

Without a DNA test, we are unable to adequately present Mr. Conner’s case for clemency. Mr. Conner will not petition for clemency, nor will we appear on his behalf at a clemency hearing until a DNA test is conducted and the results are returned. We trust that as Governor you share our interest in ensuring access to all available information in order to make a fair and informed decision about clemency.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Very truly yours,

Ken Rose and Mark Kleinschmidt

Attorneys for Jerry Conner

Return to main page and TAKE ACTION!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hear an Interview with Jerry Conner's Attorney

Brian Russell over at interviewed Jerry's Attorney. Download the podcast here .

You'll notice a new feature on the sidebar of this site -- a list of other blogs that are covering Jerry's story. Some mainstream media has covered the case, including:

  1. New York's WBAI Pacifica 99.5 FMs Wake Up Call (scroll down to Wednesday, March 29, 2006 7:00 am and click on play, to hear about Jerry fast forward to 46:05),
  2. WRAL TV (See post below),
  3. Asheville's WPBM 103.5,
  4. and Chapel Hill's WCHL