Friday, April 2, 2021

Pervis Payne: Tennessee: Bulletin: Important message from Innocence Project: The temporary reprieve from execution ends on April 9. It is therefore imperative to let the governor know through the link below that you believe that the state should not execute him. HL.

Pervis Payne, a Black man with an intellectual disability, has been on death row in Tennessee for 33 years — but he’s always maintained his innocence. In November 2020, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee granted Pervis a temporary reprieve of his execution. That reprieve ends on April 9, which means the State will be able to set a new execution date for him at any moment.



"Pervis Payne has maintained his innocence for more than 30 years. Yet, despite having no prior criminal record and living with an intellectual disability, he was sentenced to death in Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee granted Mr. Payne a temporary execution reprieve, which set to expire on April 9, 2021. The Innocence Project joined Kelley Henry’s team at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Nashville and the Milbank firm in filing a legal petition on July 22, 2020 for DNA testing of evidence in Mr. Payne’s case that had never been tested before and could help prove his innocence. And testing of some evidence was completed and submitted to the court in January 2021; however, key pieces of evidence mysteriously went missing before testing could be done. Mr. Payne has always maintained his innocence and said that he was waiting for his girlfriend to return to her apartment in Millington, Tennessee, one afternoon in June 1987, when he discovered that her neighbor, Charisse Christopher, and her children had been brutally attacked. Mr. Payne, who lives with an intellectual disability, was shocked by the bloody scene. Despite his panic, he tried to help, but as soon as he saw the police arriving, he had a sinking feeling that he would be mistaken for the attacker. His fear soon became reality. Mr. Payne was arrested later that day, and the following February was convicted of murder and sentenced to death . More than three decades later, he is still on death row."



So please, join the team in fighting for justice for Pervis — add your name to say you believe that the state of Tennessee shouldn’t execute Pervis Payne.

Thank you, and we’ll be sending more information and action items soon.

Vanessa Potkin
Director, Post-Conviction Litigation
Innocence Project
Add your name
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they’ve exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;