Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hank Skinner: Texas; A unique perspective from David Protess, President of the Chicago Innocence Project: "Children of the condemned," published by the Huffington Post. (Must Read. HL);

POST: "Children of the condemned," by David Protess, published by the Huffington Post on October 2, 2013. (David Protess is President of the Chicago Innocence Project.)

GIST:The haunting photograph landed like a brick in my Inbox. It was sent by Sandrine Skinner, a French national who had just left Texas' death row where she had visited her husband, inmate Hank Skinner. "This is the first photo taken of Hank and me in 10 years," Sandrine wrote in an email. Her message went on to give me permission to publish the photo, albeit reluctantly. "We have so little privacy that seeing 'us' in the public arena isn't to my liking," she explained. The Skinners are denied private visits and barred from touching during their five-year marriage. Hank, the Texas authorities say, is a menace to society. As I have reported, Skinner has spent 18 years on death row for a triple homicide he swears he did not commit. Mounting evidence, including DNA tests the state had fought  for more than a decade, strongly supports his claim of innocence. Yet Skinner came within 45 minutes of execution in 2010 and almost died three times this year due to an often-fatal illness.
The photo might be the last taken of Skinner alive as his lawyers desperately fight to have the new evidence heard by a Texas judge. When I saw the photo, my mind instantly flashed to an eerily similar shot I'd seen a long time ago. It was of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of allegedly passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. The couple were executed in 1953, orphaning their two young sons, Michael and Robert. Similar doubts about the Rosenberg's guilt have persisted from their arrest through this year's 60th anniversary of their execution. The evidence today indicates that Ethel was innocent and Julius, although a spy for Moscow, had not stolen anything that helped the Soviets build the bomb. After finding the photo of the Rosenbergs, and putting it next to the photo of the Skinners, I turned to two people whose reactions might be revealing - the children of the condemned."

The entire story can be found at:

See: "Hank Skinner continues to languish on Texas' death row" posted by the Innocence Project; "After years of appeals and Skinner’s lawyers unsuccessfully fighting his case, Hank was to be executed, though at the last minute the state of Texas issued a stay of execution. Just one year later, the courts ruled that he would have access to the biological evidence in his case and justice would be served. Unfortunately for Hank and conveniently for Texas the original jacket that had already been tested was lost. However the hairs were still available. DNA testing on the hairs excluded Skinner and revealed a potential match to Twila’s uncle. While the legal wrangling and testing has been going on, Hank was living on death row. Spending the majority of his days in a cramped small cell eating terrible food has begun to take its toll. Hank Skinner was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis recently and is back on death row while a resolution to his case is pending. What’s worse is that Twila Busby’s uncle, the only other suspect in the case, has been deceased for years and his body must be exhumed for Hank Skinner to be freed. We all hope that Hank Skinner can stay healthy enough to see his family and friends again."


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

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

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