Friday, May 22, 2009

DNA testing and David Johnston

From the inital brief in David Johnston :

1. The trial court erred in denying Mr. Johnston’s motion for postconviction DNA testing. Contrary to the trial court’s determination, there can be no doubt that DNA testing could exonerate Mr. Johnston. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime nor did Mr. Johnston confess to the murder. There was no fingerprint evidence connecting Mr. Johnston to the crime.

Clearly, the presence of blood on Mr. Johnston was the primary factor in obtaining a conviction. The absence of his DNA under the victim’s fingernails combined with the absence of the victim’s blood on Mr. Johnston would establish his innocence.

2. Newly discovered evidence has revealed that Mr. Johnston was convicted based on infirm forensic evidence in violation of the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. 3. The trial court erred in denying Mr. Johnston’s request for forensic testing resulting in a violation of Mr. Johnston’s rights to due process under both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. 4. The clemency process and the manner in which it was determined that Mr. Johnston should receive a death warrant on April 20, 2009, was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. 5. Mr. Johnston is exempt from execution under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he suffers from such severe mental illness that death can never be an appropriate punishment. Mr. Johnston’s severe mental illness places him within the class of defendants, like those who were under the age of eighteen at the time of the crime and those with mental retardation, who are categorically excluded from being eligible for the death penalty.

No comments: