Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How Does Our Governor Sleep at Night?

Liz Garrigan asks this question in this week's Scene editorial regarding the unfortunately wasted life of convicted-killer-who-is-obviously-innocent Paul Gregory House. The Scene has been an advocate for House for years, and there is little doubt that House committed no crime. Here's some information on House from TCASK:

In June of 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled that in the case of Paul House “no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack a reasonable doubt.” In other words, no juror in America would find Paul House guilty of the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey. One would think that when the highest court in the land says a person is not guilty, that person would be released from death row. Sadly, in the case of Paul House, that is not the case. House still sits on death row waiting for lower courts, which have ignored the deadlines for their rulings, to act on the mandate of the Supreme Court.

This is not the first time Paul House has had to accept unfair treatment from the Federal Court system. In 2002, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a 7 to 4 decision ruled that House deserved to have new evidence of his innocence examined by Tennessee state courts. Nearly two years later, with 4 new conservative appointments to the Sixth Circuit, the state of Tennessee responded that it would “respectfully decline” to act on the court’s mandate.

House was convicted of the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey, a woman who lived near him in Union County. The state presented rape as the motivation for the murder and as the aggravating factor that called for a sentence of death. While no eyewitnesses were available, two pieces of physical evidence pointed (supposedly) to House: semen from the victim’s body matching House’s blood type, and blood found on the victim’s pants matching House. In recent years, however, all of this evidence has been called into question.

DNA testing has conclusively proved that Paul House did not rape Carolyn Muncey. The semen from the body actually belonged to Muncey’s husband, Hubert. This fact calls into question the state’s entire theory of the crime. Moreover puts suspicion on Hubert Muncey.

What the state is doing to Paul House amounts to torture and needs to be stopped. Write Governor Bredesen and ask him if he's on crack to explain why he hasn't pardoned Paul House.


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