Supreme Court agrees to hear case of Texas death row inmate DNA testing

Rodney Reed
Rodney Reed

source: CNN Politics
published: 25 April 2022

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take up the case of death row inmate Rodney Reed, who is seeking post-conviction DNA testing of evidence at the crime scene. Reed was sentenced to death more than 20 years ago for the assault, rape and strangling of 19-year-old Stacey Lee Stites.

In the case at hand, he seeks to challenge the constitutionality of a state post-conviction DNA statute so that a belt at the scene could be tested. Lower courts said his request is barred because he ‘waited too long’ to bring the claim. 

“The basic question is a technical one about when the clock starts running for federal lawsuits by prisoners who seek DNA testing of newly discovered evidence that might exonerate them,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But the implications could be much broader, especially for prisoners in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, where the current law makes it exceedingly difficult to bring such claims.”

Reed’s case has united lawmakers, religious leaders, and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna in his defense.

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