Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pervis Payne: Death Row Tennessee: Major Development: Bulletin: His lawyers have filed a petition to present his intellectual disability claim in court - and that's apart from the fact that he has "a strong innocence claim...In short, the State of Texas wants to kill a man who may well be innocent - a man with an intellectual disability..."Following Governor Lee's signing (on May 12, 2021) of overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to patch a hole in Tennessee law that prevented people with intellectual disability from presenting the claim that their execution was barred by the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions, attorneys for Pervis Payne today (May 12, 2021) filed a petition under the new procedure in Shelby County Criminal Court...The petition states that Mr. Payne, as a person with an undisputed diagnosis of intellectual disability, is categorically barred from execution. The State has never denied or challenged that Mr. Payne is a person with intellectual disability and neurocognitive impairment. As the petition states: "Pervis Payne is indisputably intellectually disabled. Mr. Payne meets all three Atkins requirements, as well as those of the Tennessee statute. He has significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, significant adaptive deficits in each domain, and his disability manifested prior to age 18..Mr. Payne's case has all the ingredients of a wrongful conviction and death sentence: he is a Black man with an uncontested intellectual disability who was accused of murdering a white woman in a county with a long history of biased criminal justice, and the State is unable to account for key missing evidence that could help prove his innocence."

Read Pervis Payne's Petition to Determine Ineligibility to be Executed here:



RELEASE:  "Following Governor's signing of new law, Pervis Payne, a death row prisoner with compelling evidence of innocence, files petition to present his intellectual disability claim in court,"
published on May 12, 2021.

GUTS: "More than 740,000 individuals have signed a petition in support of Mr. Payne. That number is climbing toward one million. His case has garnered national and international attention with diverse and broad support from civil rights leaders in Atlanta, Chicago, Martha's Vineyard, and beyond. A powerful coalition of 150 faith, legal, legislative, and community groups in Memphis and across the state of Tennessee have urged Governor Lee to grant clemency for Mr. Payne. Highly respected individuals and organizations across the political spectrum, including former U.S. Circuit Judge and Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr, Martin Luther King III, and bestselling "Just Mercy" author Bryan Stevenson, have also urged the Governor to grant clemency."


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;