With Evidence Still Not Tested for DNA, Texas Attorneys Move to Halt Execution
Texas is planning to execute Hank Skinner on November 9 despite the fact that vital evidence from the crime scene in his case has not been subjected to DNA testing. Skinner has always maintained his innocence. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Skinner could file in federal court to compel the testing, but that litigation has not been completed. Moreover, a new Texas law became effective on September 1 to ensure that procedural barriers do not prevent the testing of biological evidence that was not previously tested or could be subjected to newer testing. State senator Rodney Ellis, who co-sponsored the new law that passed the Texas Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, said, “The new law was intended to make advanced DNA testing available in all cases where it can aid the truth-seeking process, and Skinner's case falls squarely within that category.” So far, Texas authorities have resisted performing the DNA tests for over 10 years. Skinner's attorneys filed motions in state district court on September 2 to compel the testing and withdraw the execution date.