Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lynn Switzer's Responses to Hank Skinner's Requests

Two small stories here which I will combine into one.

Back on 27 January, this year, Hank Skinner sent a letter to Lynn Switzer in which he offered to take a lie detector test. I include that portion below.

I've always said that I have nothing to hide. I meant that. If you wish, I will meet with you, I will answer any question you want to ask me and I will take a polygraph on any answer I give you, with one caveat: that you have retired Texas Ranger Mickey Blackmon do the polygraph. My reason for that request is simple - his reputation is legendary. He's the son of previous Hutchison County Sheriff Lon Blackmon. He used to be the DA's investigator. He's law enforcement 100% - which should suit you. I know the man and I know he's hard but 100% honest, which suits me. I'm well aware of how polygraph results can be manipulated by unscrupulous operators. I know Mr. Blackmon isn't.

Article 43.141 provides that you can file a motion to modify or withdraw the execution warrant and do the DNA testing. So I'm asking you to have my execution modified 120 days forward to June 24th and you do the testing. I'm not asking you in this letter to enter into any deals with my attorneys or give them the evidence to test. I'm asking you to do it yourself.

I'm unaware of any formal response from Lynn Swizter or her office. It's obvious though, since Hank Skinner came within forty minutes of being executed, that she has no intention of taking him up on his offer.

Next, I present Lynn Switzer's response to Hank Skinner's request for a writ of certiorari.  Remember that a writ of certiorari is a instruction from a higher court to a lower court to conduct a hearing. Hank Skinner requested the Supreme Court to order Texas to consider whether the DA's refusal to test the DNA violated Hank Skinner's civil rights. It's an almost new way of trying to enforce testing of untested DNA. It would have implications far beyond Skinner's case. The Supreme Court has yet to declare whether or not it will consider Hank's request.

With regard to Switzer's response, I offer this quick summary: Too little, too late. The DNA would not exonerate Skinner, and even if it would, he asked way too late. The most interesting part of the response, in my opinion, was that she cited Clinton v. Jones.  That would be Bill Clinton v. Paula Jones. I'll give you just a snippet. "It is not the habit of the court to decide questions of a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case." I know it's boring. It's the nature of the beast.

To get a feel for the significance of these to responses, think first of your own passion. Think of what matters to you in this life, of what focuses your time and energy. Now think of Lynn Skinner's passion. She hopes to see Hank Skinner die while she ignores the foreign handprint on the trashbag which held the murder weapon, while she ignores the hair clutched in Twila's dead hand that factually exonerates Hank Skinner, while she withholds the DNA that might set him free.

My guess is that your passion, whatever it is, is more noble.


The Skeptical Spouse said...

What Switzer says, and the State of Texas law states is that post-conviction DNA testing can only be done in the case where the results would be exculpatory. In other words, it HAS to prove the defendant is innocent, or it can't be done. can one know for certain if evidence is exculpatory or not, without doing the testing? A sincere Catch-22 here. You can't do it unless it proves you're innocent. You can't prove you're innocent unless you can do it. Circle around, bite tail.

Anonymous said...

There has to be reason to believe it would prove innocence. It's hard to be taken seriously when the defendant demands testing after, by choice, rejecting it at the trial, simply because it wouldn't have been in his favor. The DNA thing is smoke and mirrors. Just another way for a clever con man to create subterfuge and remove focus from the fact that he MURDERED three people. If you don't believe this, ask Twila's surviving daughter who did this. The only thing that saved her was that she refused to stay at the house today, for fear that Skinner would become drunk and violent. Get a clue and stop believing in conspiracy theories...

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