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Arkansas Supreme Court Issues Stay of Execution for Stacey Johnson for DNA Testing

By Innocence Staff

Stacey Johnson (right) and his wife Judy.

(Little Rock, AR – April 19, 2017) Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for Innocence Project and Jeff Rosenzweig client Stacey Johnson. By a 4-3 vote, the Court ruled that Mr. Johnson has the right to a full evidentiary hearing on his request for DNA testing to prove his innocence.

Statement by Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison, co-counsel for Arkansas’ Ledell Lee, regarding stay of execution granted to Innocence Project client Stacey Johnson and pending motion for stay for Lee:

We are grateful and relieved that the Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Innocence Project and Jeff Rosenzweig client Stacey Johnson. By a 4-3 vote, the Court ruled that Mr. Johnson has the right to a full evidentiary hearing on his request for DNA testing to prove his innocence. The Court’s action stays his execution which had been scheduled for 7 pm on April 20 (tomorrow).

As in Johnson’s case, the Innocence Project and our co-counsel at the ACLU filed a request with the Arkansas Supreme Court this morning on behalf of our client Ledell Lee seeking DNA testing, which is still pending. Mr. Lee is scheduled to be executed tomorrow evening unless the Arkansas court grants the stay.  As we argued in our brief, there is a significant amount of DNA evidence that has never been tested which could exonerate Mr. Lee and identify the real perpetrator of the crime. 

Because he, like Stacey Johnson, has never gotten a hearing on his DNA petition, and has maintained his innocence for over two decades, we are hopeful that the Arkansas Supreme Court will also grant him a stay and give him a hearing on the DNA evidence.

Related: Ledell Lee Asks Arkansas Supreme Court for Stay of Execution

10 Comments

  1. Pearl Deleon

    How can they not give him hearing on the DNA results. Justice is blind and seems to also turn away.

  2. Jackie

    Yes – it is incomprehensible how a man can be sentenced to death when there is DNA evidence available that was not, and never has been tested. I do not understand why the system resists testing when it is so reliably accurate and can so easily ensure the correct person has been punished for the crime.

  3. Gohar Khan

    Providing pure justice to every american is part of the constitution of unites states.Any such verdicts which is against the forensic science available tool through which many wrongfully convicted people proved innocent and provide pure justice to american citizens such verdict is against the constitution of united states and not sustainable in the eyes of Law.

  4. Lily

    Yessssss!!!!!! I was completely upset about this earlier!

  5. JENIFER COLE

    What can regular civilians do to help set free wrongfully convicted people? I would like to help.

    • Mary Rosier

      Support your state innocent project. They have recently started a new program called GUILTY PLEA PROJECT. Prior to this, they only took on cases where there was DNA to be tested, and they didn’t take anyone who pled guilty even wheen they weren’t. Now they know that 25 percent or more, of people who are innocent pled guilty to avoid getting a death penalty, or other justifiable reasons. I am working with a man that took a guilty plea because they scared him into it telling him he was going to get the electric Chair. They told terrible stories to his family and the family turned against him. He is now 55 and has been locked up for nearly 33 years. He spent the first 20 years without a visitor or any mail. When he sent motions to the court they were just mailed back to him. There was no DAN then but testing did not find even one drop of blood, no fingerprint matches to him, no hair matched him, no eye witnesses, etc. The two young kids that were intimidated by the police and threatened with consequences were the only two witnesses that they used to get a murder indictment. The arresting officer stated in his deosition that “his intuition told him that the man was guilty”. The DA intimidated the public defender, and I doubt the judge even read the case file. I wonder how many others are locked up but innocent. I believe this went on in counties all over the USA. Just read about The Innocent Project. They have freed over 2000 people in the past three years.

  6. matthew kolmer

    how did 3 vote against it ?

  7. Frank

    More proof the main motive behind capital punishment is to kill people, and justice is at best a secondary concern.

    would like to see the dollars I’ve donated and will continue to donate be put toward pre-emptive defense of cases in which no physical evidence exists; the great work of The Innocence Project having clearly demonstrated reason to doubt eyewitness identification by strangers, coerced “confessions” that are recanted once the accused is no longer under pressure, and of course “jailhouse snitch” testimony, a “grasping at straws” tactic that should serve as evidence of innocence.

  8. Brenda Strickland

    makes me nauseous that America would execute anyone who could possibly be innocent. Extensive DNA testing should be minimal standard. “Better to release 100 criminals than execute 1 innocent man”…

  9. Carol Rockman

    3 votes againt DNA testing is 3 votes cast by persons who are clearly stating they do not care that the person being executed could actually br innocent. The real question seems to be how are they even allowed to be is such a supposedly esteemed position to deny such petitions.

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