Sunday, January 27, 2013

Larry Swearingen: DA Says his DNA Motion is a stall tactic (meant to delay his execution): Offer for expedited testing is rejected on basis that testing required is complex and time-consuming. Reporter Jordan Smith. The Austin Chronicle.

STORY: "DA says Swearingen DNA motion is a  stall tactic: Offer for expedited testing is rejected," by reporter Jordan Smith, published in the Austin Chronicle on January 25, 2013.

GIST: "Lawmakers in 2011 updated the Texas post-conviction DNA testing statute, in part to broaden the definition of biological material – thus, directly addressing the issue that had blocked Swearingen from testing the pantyhose ligature along with other items, including articles of Trotter's clothing and scrapings from under the fingernails of one of her hands. (Previous testing on scrapings taken from one of her hands revealed an unknown DNA profile; whether that profile has been compared to DNA in a national database is unclear.) As such, Swearingen's attorneys – which includes Houston's James Rytting  and now Bryce Benjet  and the New York Innocence Project  – last week filed a motion to secure DNA testing of the as-yet untested materials. Although  (DA) Ligon initially scoffed at the idea, he has changed course, this week offering to expedite transfer of the items to the lab of the defense's choosing, and to pay for the DNA testing out of the county's pocket. Swearingen's attorneys have declined the request. That prompted Ligon to issue a press release Friday, lambasting the defense for stalling what Ligon sees as the inevitable execution of Swearingen. "It is obvious that Swearingen's attorneys desire additional testing only if it will result in another delay of the execution," reads the press release. "The district attorney remains willing to facilitate the DNA testing requested by the defense, but will oppose any further stay of execution." While Swearingen's attorneys are "relieved" to hear that Ligon has finally agreed to DNA testing, they think that a rush to get it done within a month is unreasonable. "Due to the nature of the evidence in this case, the testing required is complicated and could require several different types of analysis," said Barry Scheck co-director of the Innocence Project. "The careful forensic work required will simply take more time than we have under the execution date that was set by the state." In other words, the defense wants to make sure the DNA analysts are looking closely at the evidence and not at the clock. Moreover, Scheck said that conducting the testing pursuant to an agreement with Ligon outside the provisions of the statute "that was amended in direct response to this case would severely compromise Mr. Swearingen's ability to get the reliable testing that can prove his innocence."
The entire story can be found at:


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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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