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Newly tested DNA evidence indicates that Arkansas may have executed an innocent man in 2017

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gator_lawyer, May 4, 2021.

  1. gator_lawyer

    gator_lawyer Premium Member

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    I have no words.
    'Unknown male' DNA found on murder weapon in Ledell Lee case | thv11.com
    New DNA testing that was completed four years after the State of Arkansas executed Ledell Lee for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese was released on Friday.

    In January 2020, the Innocence Project and ACLU requested new DNA testing in Lee's case. Attorneys said that no physical evidence connected Lee to the murder and there were "serious flaws in the evidence to convict Lee."

    The testing concluded that Lee's DNA was not on the wooden club or a bloody shirt found at the scene.

    According to the test results, DNA of an "unknown male" was found on the wooden club that was reportedly used as the murder weapon and the shirt.
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    Arkansas rushed to put Lee to death before the DNA evidence could be tested because its lethal injection drug supplies were about to expire.
    DNA test may have cleared Arkansas man executed in rush to use expiring death penalty drugs: lawyer | CBC Radio
    Ledell Lee maintained his innocence until the day he died.

    The Arkansas inmate was executed Thursday night for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese, marking the state's first execution in more than a decade. Shortly before he died, he told the BBC: "You are about to murder an innocent man."

    Lee was the first to die in a group of eight men Arkansas had planned to execute in 11 days in a rush to use its supply of lethal injection drugs before they expire at the end of the month. Three other planned executions were canceled this week because of court decisions. Another inmate scheduled for execution next week has received a stay.
    . . .
    But lawyer Nina Morrison, who has been working on Lee's case, says he never got a fair shot. "It's hard to find the words. It's extremely painful," she told As It Happens. "I am just outraged and devastated that the state of Arkansas rushed to execute Ledell Lee before he got the DNA test that could have proven the truth of what he has been saying for 20 years."
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Death Row Prisoner Ledell Lee Seeks New Evidence to Prove His Innocence
    Lee was tried by a judge who concealed his own conflict of interest: an affair with the assistant prosecutor, to whom the judge was later married. Mr. Lee’s first state post-conviction counsel introduced the evidence of the affair by calling the judge’s ex-wife, who testified about the affair after opposing the subpoena. That lawyer, however, was so intoxicated at the hearing that the state moved for him to be drug tested after he slurred, stumbled, and made incoherent arguments.

    The inebriated lawyer also represented Lee briefly in federal court, where he raised the important claim that Lee was ineligible for execution because of intellectual disability.

    Lee won new proceedings because of the lawyer’s drunkenness, though his representation did not improve afterward. His next lawyers failed to introduce evidence of the affair, giving up one of many of Lee’s important arguments, and never pursued his innocence or intellectual disability claims.
    . . .
    "This is a story of the judicial process gone totally wrong," Stubbs said. "The kinds of attorney failures here: an affair with the presiding judge by the prosecutor, gross intoxication by defense counsel, and wild incompetence undermine our profession as a whole. Mr. Lee has never had the opportunity to have his case truly investigated, despite serious questions about guilt, and his intellectual disability."
     
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  2. mutz87

    mutz87 p=.06 VIP Member

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    There's a severely deranged sickness in the mindset that compels government actors/pols to rush to get executions completed before they run out of the drugs.
     
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  3. RIP

    RIP Election Prediction Savant Premium Member

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    This is one of the main reasons I'm against the death penalty.
     
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  4. AndyGator

    AndyGator GC Hall of Fame

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    This is shocking. Even for a red state.
     
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  5. studegator

    studegator GC Legend

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    Very sad to read this.
    Many heads need to roll starting with the DA and the judge. This whole system seems to be corrupt.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. BigCypressGator1981

    BigCypressGator1981 Premium Member

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    Interesting choice of phrase for this thread. :)
     
  7. BLING

    BLING GC Hall of Fame

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    There’s a word for it. Murder.
     
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  8. PD

    PD GC Columnist VIP Member

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    Shouldn't be if you’ve followed the execution tactics of red states like Texas (or the Trump White House).
     
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  9. PD

    PD GC Columnist VIP Member

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    I doubt anyone will lose their job or even be disciplined at all.
     
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  10. GatorRade

    GatorRade Rad Scientist Premium Member

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    Horrifying.
     
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  11. ncargat1

    ncargat1 VIP Member

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    I agree with you. We have now taken one murder and made it 2. Worse, it now appears both murder victims were innocent. To top it off, all of the actual murderers are still running free.
     
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  12. WarDamnGator

    WarDamnGator GC Hall of Fame

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    While I agree with the death penalty in many cases, this is why I don't support the death penalty as it stands. One innocent person being put to death is too many.
     
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  13. wgbgator

    wgbgator Premium Member

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    A Van Down By the River
    The last president lifted the federal moratorium just because they could, they wanted to kill people. We probably have the most pro-death high court in ages too.
     
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  14. philnotfil

    philnotfil GC Hall of Fame

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    Theoretically I support the death penalty, but as implemented in the US, it is an abomination. Far too many innocent men being killed by the government.
     
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  15. g8rjd

    g8rjd GC Hall of Fame

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    Every once in a while, something like this gets press. They’re typically written speculatively by anti DP groups and there’s usually not follow up. I’ll wait for something more definitive.

    As far as the drug switch, the reason for it was anti-DP groups pressuring manufacturers the stop producing or providing it to corrections officials. So if error did occur as the result of a rushed process, there’s plenty of blame to go around.
     
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  16. orangeblue_coop

    orangeblue_coop GC Hall of Fame

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    Whoever dropped the ball (police, lawyers, judge etc) needs go to prison for life.
     
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  17. ncargat1

    ncargat1 VIP Member

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    Regardless of who earned the blame, the solution is to stop murdering people, be it "government sanctioned" or not.
     
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  18. g8rjd

    g8rjd GC Hall of Fame

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    Like I said, these releases by interested groups often appear in speculative terms. Their lack of definitive follow up telling because it, to me at least, shows the speculative release is the goal, to create exactly the impression I’m seeing in the thread.
     
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  19. gator_lawyer

    gator_lawyer Premium Member

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    The testing was released on Friday. How are the groups supposed to "follow up"?
     
  20. gator_lawyer

    gator_lawyer Premium Member

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    Odds are that the awful AG who is involved in all of this is promoted to Governor in 2022.