The transcript is now available from today's argument on whether, in addition to Ch. 64, a sec. 1983 suit permits DNA testing:
On first read, Skinner's case didn't appear to enjoy much support. The result may turn on the term "necessarily implies."
There is nothing pretty about that argument. Bet the media can't even find a way to quote it. No money quotes.
Skinner got attacked from every side. Sounds like the SCOTUS can see that opening this door to a 1983 action would lead to all kinds of mischief.
Skinner's lawyer sure didn't seem to know how to articulate his claim without making it look like a collateral attack on the judgment.
Just wanted to note that the man who argued this on behalf of the State, Greg Coleman, died last night (Tuesday, November 23, 2010) in a plane crash. We were not close, but I had occassion to meet and talk with him because my wife worked in the same firm with him. He was a very sharp appellate attorney and a first-class guy.
[This message was edited by David Newell on 11-24-10 at .]
A few years ago now, I, along with Matthew Paul--late State Prosecutor--argued against Greg (as former Solicitor General) in Saldano before the Court of Criminal Appeals. He was truly a zealous and articulate advocate. He was unafraid to take an unpopular position for his client. Recently, Greg nobley represented the State in Skinner before the SCOTUS. I read his brief and heard his argument and, as usual, he excelled. He was always completely prepared and some. Alas, I did not know him outside the courtroom. Surely Texas is poorer for losing him.
[This message was edited by John A. Stride on 11-24-10 at .]
I miss Matthew Paul as well.
The Supreme Court is again considering the tangled legal questions that accompany the issue in the case of Henry Skinner, who says DNA evidence could settle the question of whether he murdered his girlfriend and her two developmentally disabled adult sons.
Prosecutors in Gray County, Tex., where Skinner was convicted, are convinced that he is guilty and say he passed up a chance to test DNA evidence at his trial 15 years ago. Texas courts said he didn't meet the requirements of a state law that grants DNA testing to some convicts. Federal courts said they had no proper role in second-guessing Texas.
Didn't this article already run?
It is, indeed, a rehash of what was written when the case was first accepted for review. But, for the East Coast, the death penalty (and those who push for its abolition) is endlessly fascinating.
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