VA Governor orders DNA testing in case of executed man

Being the anti-death penalty kinda gal that I am, I just wanted to acknowledge the unprecedented decision by Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner to order DNA testing that could prove the guilt or innocence of a man executed in 1992.

According to the Washington Post, Warner said yesterday in a statement, “I believe we must always follow the available facts to a more complete picture of guilt or innocence.” This should not be a revolutionary statement from someone in government, but it is.

Despite the 122 death row exonerees, prosecutors and other officials around the country continually deny that any innocent person has been executed. They have repeatedly fought attempts to reexamine DNA evidence in cases where the convicted person has been executed, clearly fearing what the outcome of that testing might reveal about both the specific case and the American criminal justice system.

The test results in the Coleman case are expected as early as next week. No matter what they are, the ramifications of this step are huge. It’s high time people realized that the justice system should be about getting at the truth, not about getting convictions.

Sara in Philly