CSI: Texas Style

January 26, 2009

Larry Swearingen has received a stay of execution.  He was one of 14 prisoners scheduled for execution in Texas between the beginning of this year and early April.  (Of those 14, three – all African American – have already been put to death, and the other ten are all either African American or Hispanic.)

For Swearingen, forensic evidence that now raises serious doubts about his guilt seem to have swayed the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to put the execution on hold and allow him to file a further appeal in Federal District Court.  Several forensic pathologists, including the woman who conducted the victim’s autopsy, are now saying that the time of death occurred when Swearingen was in jail for some traffic violations,  so that he could not have committed the crime.

The 5th Circuit found both that Swearingen’s defense was deficient and that the prosecutors provided “false and misleading forensic testimony.