As a Birmingham, Alabama DUI and Criminal Defense lawyer and attorney, I strongly condemn the death penalty. Alabama is set to execute Thomas Arthur on September 26, 2007. Although the death penalty is horrific and should not be endorsed by an advanced intellectual society, it is worse in the backward state of Alabama. Mr. Arthur contends he is innocent and Governor Riley refuses to allow DNA testing that could exonerate Mr. Arthur. According to the Innocence Project, fifteen death row inmates have been exonerated nationwide by DNA testing thus far, some just days before they were scheduled to be executed. As the Innocence Project points out , if any of these men were on death row in Alabama, they would be dead by now. If a state is going to continue the barbaric act of execution, it is unconscionable that with today's technology, every person scheduled to die does not receive DNA testing. Shouldn't the state at least make sure, by every possible means, the people they execute are actually guilty? Or does Governor Riley and the state of Alabama really care who we execute, as long as someone pays for the act they are alleged to have committed, and come election time, the politicians can act like they are tough against crime.
Forty-two states now allow for post-conviction DNA testing. As always, Alabama is one of the last holdouts to a bygone era. There are a lot of great things about this state, it is my home, I love it, and its people dearly. However, when it comes to the death penalty in general and DNA testing specifically, I think everyone should ask a simple question: "What would Jesus do?'