State of Texas Agrees to DNA Testing for Hank Skinner

On Friday, June 1, the State of Texas filed an advisory with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in which it agreed to DNA testing for death row inmate Hank Skinner.   Read more in the Texas Tribune.

Rob Owen, attorney for Hank Skinner and Visiting Clinical Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, issued the following statement in response to the filing:

“For more than ten years, Mr. Skinner has been fighting to have key items of evidence in his case subjected to DNA testing.  We are pleased that the State finally appears willing to work with us to make that testing a reality. 

“It will be necessary, of course, to work out the details of any such testing with the State, in order to ensure that the evidence is carefully and properly handled, and that every piece of evidence that we have identified as important gets tested.

“In 2000, the State squandered an opportunity to pursue full and fair DNA testing when it excluded Mr. Skinner’s legal team from any role in such decisions.  Texans expect accuracy in this death penalty case, and the procedures to be employed must ensure their confidence in theoutcome.  To that end, all determinations about how and by whom the evidence will be handled and tested must be entirely transparent, with both parties involved at every step.

“We look forward to cooperating with the State to achieve this DNA testing as promptly as possible.”

Rob Owen, attorney for Hank Skinner

Visiting Clinical Professor, Northwestern School of Law

June 1, 2012

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Read editorials by the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.