UPDATE in Skinner Case: Trial Judge Again Denies DNA Testing

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Hank Skinner’s trial judge once again denied Skinner DNA testing this afternoon, in spite of the new law in Texas I mentioned in the post below. Here’s the statement from Skinner’s attorney:

“We are deeply disappointed that the trial court has denied Mr. Skinner’s request for DNA testing.  Unfortunately, the trial court’s order offers no explanation for its conclusion that DNA testing is not called for in this case. It will now be up to the Court of Criminal Appeals to give Mr. Skinner’s case the deliberate consideration that is necessary to ensure a correct result.  We are confident that upon such careful review, the Court will conclude that DNA testing is necessary in this case to ensure the reliability of the verdict.  But for now, the Court of Criminal Appeals must stop the scheduled November 9 execution rather than allow itself to be rushed to a hasty and ill-considered decision.  The stakes in this case are too high to allow Mr. Skinner to be executed before he has a fair chance to make his case that the trial court made a grave mistake in denying his request for DNA testing.”

– Robert C. Owen, attorney for Hank Skinner
– November 3, 2011

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21 Responses to “UPDATE in Skinner Case: Trial Judge Again Denies DNA Testing”

  1. #1 |  Jeff | 

    So I assume this case will stow outrage over twitter, etc. when it comes down to the last 10 hours or so of the guys life. Would be nice if it could get started sooner.

  2. #2 |  Anon for this comment | 

    Strange. In the previous linked article it states that the bill was specifically stripped of narrowing language ensuring that “if there is DNA evidence available to prove someone’s innocence, it can and will be tested.”

    Guess the judge feels like finality is more important than legislative law. I’ll also eat my hat if you can find me a neocon who holds this up as an example of an activist judge.

  3. #3 |  Difster | 

    I used to think there was no way the state could sentence someone to death without being 100% certain that he was the guilty party in a vicious and premeditated murder.

    That illusion having been shattered, I now advocate taking the power of execution away from the government.

    I still think there are some people that just need to die but I’m willing that even some truly evil people should remain alive in order that the innocent don’t die as well.

  4. #4 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Our so-called “justice” system has no use for actual justice –– just convictions, incarceration and executions.

  5. #5 |  John P. | 

    The justice system and everyone associated with it has truly become the enemy

  6. #6 |  Lucy Steigerwald | 

    This is sheer lunacy.

    There’s something fundamentally and terribly wrong if people go through the motions and execute this man when they know they could make sure. Obviously law and order is —

    I can’t even put into words how malevolently nonsensical this is.

  7. #7 |  Thom | 

    Can’t let no science get in the way of killin’ folks. Texas Justice!

  8. #8 |  Steve Verdon | 

    That judge can DIAF too.

  9. #9 |  30 year lawyer | 

    I don’t care what he did or who he killed. If he REALLY is guilty, he’ll be punished for that.

    But the quality of Justice in the State of Texas is so strained that they must rush men to the Gallows lest their innocence be established. Is Texas in the execution business or the Justice business?

    I know they aren’t soooo barbaric as to hang them anymore but mental image of 2 fat guards hanging on his legs to make the strangulation work is too tempting to skip.

  10. #10 |  John P. | 

    @30 year lawyer “But the quality of Justice in the State of Texas is so strained that they must rush men to the Gallows lest their innocence be established.”

    That’s how any man with common sense would view it, I cannot fathom that the prosecution nor the judges cannot grasp this simple concept.

  11. #11 |  captainahags | 

    They have to rush to execute him or the innocence project might show up and create dna evidence that proves he’s not guilty, and that would be a serious miscarriage of justice.

  12. #12 |  Leonson | 

    “if there is DNA evidence available to prove someone’s innocence, it can and will be tested.”

    Even if this DNA evidence showed someone else was present, it cannot prove Hank Skinner’s innocence.

  13. #13 |  John Regan | 


    “Even if this DNA evidence showed someone else was present, it cannot prove Hank Skinner’s innocence.”

    This is kind of true, but not really. Because Skinner’s story had to be rejected in order to find him guilty to begin with, a DNA test confirming the story would preclude guilt of the kind he was convicted of.

    But he may indeed be guilty of something else, still. Not a death penalty eligible crime, though.

    I suppose it depends to some extent on how high you want to set the bar.

  14. #14 |  Matt | 

    Anyone have contact info for the judge and Switzer?

    The folks at http://www.copblock.org/ have instigated successful call floods in far less dire circumstances.

  15. #15 |  Leah | 

    Mindblowingly awful.

  16. #16 |  Ashok Sharma | 

    Those who we en crown to the High seats of Fair Justice must first be rigorously tested beforehand that they have used all options and searched their Higher Self and inner conscience before they send someone to the gallows !

  17. #17 |  plutosdad | 

    At this point I am pretty convinced that the majority of prosecutors, judges, and police in texas are nothing more than organized murderers.

  18. #18 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Basically they want to kill the guy. That is the bottom line. If he is truly guilty then the DNA will just be the final nail in the coffin. If he is innocent then the DNA will confirm that. The idea of a DNA test providing relief for the truly guilty is just nonsense. Any who are opposed to such tests are psychopaths.

    Yes, it is that simple.

  19. #19 |  Leonson | 

    How will DNA confirm that he is innocent?

    Please, explain it for me so that I’m no longer a psychopath.

  20. #20 |  Radley Balko | 

    If DNA on the hairs Busby was clutching at the time of her death and the scrapings under her fingernails both match the same person, and that person isn’t Skinner, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that he’s innocent.

    Both would likely be the result of defensive actions she would have taken to stave off her killer.

  21. #21 |  Gimmel Yod | 

    Was this Judge McBribe, -eh: MCBRIDE – by any chance?