Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Independent Weekly Covers the Supreme Court decision

Friday, May 12, 2006

News and Observer's Board Editorial

said this today about the North Carolina Supreme Court decision:
Wednesday's ruling was a sensible and appropriate interpretation of the legislature's intent. A DNA test of a semen sample recovered from the teenage victim was ruled inconclusive 15 years ago. DNA testing has improved significantly in recent years, however. Both common sense and justice argue that if more advanced and accurate DNA testing is available, it must be used before the state of North Carolina executes someone.
Read the rest of the editorial posted here on the ncmoratorium website

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

In the Supreme Court of North Carolina . . .

Late this morning, Justice Timmons-Goodson signed an Order for the Court that reads in pertinent part as follows:

Defendant's motion for stay of execution is allowed. Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari is allowed for the limited purpose of reversing the trial court's denial of DNA testing and remanding this case to Gates County Superior Court for entry of an order requiring that biological evidence in the possession of the State be DNA tested pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-269.

With this order, the Gates County court's denial of a DNA test was vacated. Importantly, this Order indicates that the Supreme Court understands that the law means what it says -- that when DNA exists and is relevant to a case, it is the public policy of the State of North Carolina that it be tested.

(AP Photo/Jerry Wayne Conner's defense lawyers)

NC Supreme Court Stays Jerry Conner's Execution

More news later

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dear Editor:

Some recent letters-to-the-editor found in NC newspapers:

This one from the Asheville Citizen Times

North Carolina Needs a Death Penalty Moratorium and DNA Testing

by Ian McGregor
published May 9, 2006 12:15 am

The state refuses to test DNA evidence that could determine with certainty the guilt or innocence of Jerry Conner. Conner is scheduled for a May 12 execution at Central Prison even though doubt remains about his culpability. The courts are supposedly accountable to us, the good people of North Carolina. How many of us are willing to put some abstract rule of the court or the cost of running the tests above our need for the truth before the state kills a person in our name? Not me. Not most of us. In August of 1990, someone murdered Mihn Rogers and raped and murdered Linda Rogers. Jerry Conner was convicted of those horrible crimes. Sixteen years later and days from his execution, there is still doubt about his guilt. The system is too flawed to be trusted with life and death. Most of us don’t even trust the courts to fairly adjudicate our traffic tickets. Yet, for some reason, we trust the same system to be unerring in applying death as punishment.

That is plain foolish. We need a DNA test in this case and legislature should pass a moratorium on executions.

Ian McGregor


And this one publised in the News and Observer on May 5, 2006

Give him his DNA test
In the case of Jerry Conner, 40, scheduled for execution May 12, why not retest his DNA? (news story, May 3). In the last 16 years there have been significant changes in the test. In 1990, it took weeks to get the results back; now, it takes a day. Why deny this man the new, more accurate, test? Is the state so unsure of its justice system?

Instead of doing what's right, the state is relying, since the old test was inconclusive, on the confession of a borderline mentally retarded man, when there are cases of normally intelligent, but naive or young, people tricked into confessing crimes they didn't commit.

The Innocence Project reports that false confessions have been present in more than one in four DNA exonerations across the country. If North Carolina is no different, we all must doubt our justice system, and the state hiding the possible innocence of a condemned man just makes things worse.

M. B. Hardy


Friday, May 05, 2006

Amnesty International Calls for Action in Jerry Conner's Case

Amnesty issued this ACTION ALERT yesterday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why Jerry Conner Did Not Seek Clemency Today

Ten days from his scheduled execution, Jerry Wayne Conner is in the same position he was in almost two months ago when he first asked the State to consent to DNA testing. Attorneys for Mr. Conner did not participate in today’s clemency hearing before Governor Easley, because they were unable to adequately represent Mr. Conner before the Governor given the questions still existing about his guilt. Mr. Conner has presented both the courts and the governor with the means to answer these questions—a new DNA test that would conclusively answer these questions. Until answers are available, participation in the clemency process would not be constructive.

A pdf. is available here. To keep reading, click here.

Exonerating evidence discovered . . . but the defendant has already been executed!

Evidence is being revealed that Texas executed a man using scientifically invalid evidence.
Can we risk the same here in North Carolina?