Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tennessee: Judicial / Executive Showdown

Paul House was convicted of rape and murder in 1986. Fifteen years after the conviction, DNA evidence DNA determined the semen in his the victim was actually that of victim's husband, House. As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the DNA and other evidence were strong enough that a jury would not have convicted House -a determination also reached by lower courts in the appellate process. This article observes "many people thought the state would issue some type of clemency to [House], or even pardon him. But no, the state kept fighting to keep him in prison." Why? The article suggests Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) is demonstrating that it is not "easy for some people to admit that they're wrong." Now, a judge has issued an order calling for the release of House arguing, "While the public has an interest in having the state's judgments enforced, the public also has a compelling interest in the state not continuing to incarcerate individuals who have not been accorded their constitutional right to a fair trial."

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