MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A state criminal court judge on Tuesday refused to allow DNA testing on crime scene evidence that sent condemned killer Sedley Alley to death row almost 20 years ago.
I cannot understand how any right-thinking judge would refuse to allow DNA testing in a capital case, especially in a case that originally was tried before DNA testing was a viable option. A state with any policy allowing it to kill anyone is already on shaky ground morally. The state should at least use the best methods available to confirm the guilt of any person the state plans on executing.
I understand that Sedley Alley (pictured) confessed to the murder he was convicted of. Unfortunately, coerced confessions are not unusual in many states' criminal justice systems. For example, New York death-row inmate Douglas Warney was recently acquitted of a murder he confessed to but didn't commit after spending 10 years in jail. DNA evidence saved Warney from eventually being shot up with poison. (The New York Times article mentions Alley's case.)
Frankly, allowing DNA testing is the only moral thing to do in this situation.
Related: Unless Someone Steps in, Tennessee Will Kill a Man Next Week (May 9, 2006)