Innocence

Arkansas really wanted someone dead, their supply of death drugs was running out.

I was hiking in Muir Woods this week, ran into a guy with an Innocence Project t-shirt. They do great, important work. Send them money here.

Then today I read a story about Ledell Lee and how the Innocence Project tried to save him.

In 1993 Debra Reese, 26, was murdered in Jacksonville, Ark. Ledell Lee was accused. But there were problems. Lee was prosecuted but the jury hung. Then, a few days after OJ Simpson was found not guilty and white people were pissed off, Lee was prosecuted again. The judge was having an affair with the prosecutor and later married her. Fingerprints at the scene did not match Lee. Lee did not have good representation. Etc. Etc.

Lee was convicted and sentenced to death.

Years later an execution date was set for Lee, and the Innocence Project got involved in the case. DNA testing had become available, but a judge refused to allow it. Etc. Etc.

Unfortunately time ran out for Lee. A stay of execution was denied.

“Lee was one of eight people whose execution was scheduled for the same 11-day period because Arkansas’ supply of lethal injection drugs was about to expire. Four of those people received stays of execution — Lee was not one of them.”

So now… NYTimes, 4 Years After an Execution, a Different Man’s DNA Is Found on the Murder Weapon,

Four years later, lawyers affiliated with the Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union say DNA testing has revealed that genetic material on the murder weapon — which was never previously tested — in fact belongs to another man.

They tried,

The Innocence Project and the A.C.L.U. have pushed for additional DNA testing at previous times, including the eve of Mr. Lee’s execution. The request was denied. A federal judge rejected Mr. Lee’s request for a stay of the execution, saying that he had “simply delayed too long,” according to a complaint filed by Ms. Young.

Go to the links and read through. It’s quite a story. And as I mentioned bove, send money to the Innocence Project here.

Update: Mark Joseph Stern at Slate, from April 2017, With Gorsuch’s Vote, Supreme Court Allows Arkansas to Execute Ledell Lee. It was Gorsuch’s FIRST vote on the Court.