He certainly ought to get one.
Tommy Arthur, a convicted murderer, will be executed tomorrow unless his request for DNA testing is granted by Governor Riley. The Gov. has already denied the request, even though Arthur’s attorneys are willing to pay for it (such a test can cost thousands of dollars). In light of all the rape and murder convictions overturned in the last decade or so using DNA tests, why wouldn’t Riley allow a test in this case, especially when the state won’t even have to pay for it?
I’m pretty much opposed to the death penalty in nearly all circumstances, but even a proponent ought to demand that the certainty of guilt in any death penalty conviction be as close to one hundred percent as humanly possible.
To clarify my view above, I am opposed to the death penalty in practice, but not in theory. I believe that humans are flawed enough that they shouldn’t have the power to decide whether another human lives or dies, especially when the folks making the decision are part of the same class of people who can’t manage to deliver the mail correctly or run an efficient passenger train service. That being said, there are some cases where I think the death penalty would have been appropriate: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.
Steve Gordon has more.
Radley has some good thoughts on the subject as well.
Update: Riley is delaying Arthur’s execution for 45 days to determine whether Alabama’s lethal injection procedure falls afoul of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Seems like an opportune time to conduct a DNA test to determine whether Arthur is, in fact, guilty.