Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Linking Griffin to the Streamlined Procedures Act

Yesterday we talked about the 1995 execution of Larry Griffin in the state of Missouri. A district attorney has re-opened the investigation after evidence emerged that Griffin may have been innocent.

On Monday we talked about the Streamlined Procedures Act, a measure pending in Congress that would radically curtail federal habeas appeals and lead to a sharp increase in the execution rate.

Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ties the two issues together:

Reopening Griffin case may sway debate over executions

By Terry Ganey
Of the Post-Dispatch

When death penalty advocates appear before Congress, they often justify their position by saying no innocent person has ever been executed in the United States.

Doubt about that was raised Tuesday in St. Louis with the release of a new report saying Larry Griffin was innocent of the drive-by shooting of Quintin Moss for which Griffin was executed 10 years ago.

The report raised enough questions to persuade Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce to reopen the investigation. Although it will be months before she can issue findings, death penalty opponents are expected to raise Griffin's execution in arguments against capital punishment.

That could come as early as today when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers a bill that would streamline federal appeals of state death penalty cases.

Barry Scheck, a lawyer for one of the witnesses to the drive-by shooting in which Moss was killed, is scheduled to testify at the hearing.

"If this bill passes, a number of innocent people will be executed,"
predicted Scheck, who represents Wallace Conners, who was wounded in the drive-by shooting.

To read the entire article, go here.

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