Monday, January 13, 2014

Bulletin: Rodney Reed: Death row; Texas; U.S.Court of Appeals turns down his request for a new trial; KXAN reports that his defenders had hoped that DNA evidence not previously presented but now admissible could clear him. (Link to decision provided);

STORY: "Death row inmate denied new trial," by reporter Michael Aaron,  published by KXAN on January 11, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "Rodney Reed on death row for 1996 rape, murder."

CAPTION: "The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a death row inmate's request for a new trial."
GIST: "The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a death row inmate's request for a new trial. Rodney Reed is currently on death row for the 1996 rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop. On Friday, judges released their ruling denying Reed a certificate of appealability. The Court heard his case in December.........46-year-old Rodney Reed is black. Stites was white. Reed supporters believe race played a role in his verdict. "A small town in Texas, a black man dating a white woman, the fiancé a police officer," said Lily Hughes of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. "I think race very much has something to do with it." Reed's defenders also hoped DNA evidence not previously presented but now admissible could clear him.""

See Elgin Courier story published prior to the appeal. "Lydia Clay-Jackson, attorney for Reed filed the declaration in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The declaration stated: Reed's defense was rushed and incomplete as they were appointed January 29, 1998; and the defense knew Fennell had failed two polygraph tests but counsel could not put Fennell back in Giddings to get the call Stites had not made it to work at 6:45 a.m. Counsel had not seen the affidavits of Keng and Barnett until January 30, 2003 and other witness information was not given to defense in official reports such as Barnett's statements and police reports from Prater family. The May 13, 1998 DPS DNA testing results on beer cans near Stites' body was not provided to defense and the January 2001 DPS report on further DNA testing by Arthur Eisenberg which excluded Stites' and Salmela's DNA but not David Hall's DNA had not been reviewed. On February 10, 2003, the defense first saw the complete DPS video compiled at the site Stites' body was found that shows authorities drove vehicles over roadway destroying evidence; walked over the dirt road without preserving evidence first; wore no protective clothing during evidence collection; did not change gloves between evidence tasks; failed to record rigor mortis, post-mortem lividity and temperature to determine time of death; moved Stites' body inappropriately; and had cross-contaminated evidence due to not changing gloves. Consequently, the defense did not believe Reed's conviction was reliable."

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

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