U.S. Supreme Court grants Hank Skinner’s Petition for Certiorari

Great news for those supporting the cause of death row inmate, Henry W. “Hank” Skinner and the tireless efforts of the Medill Innocence Project to allow DNA testing that may potentially clear his name. From today’s Order List of the Supreme Court of the United States website:

The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted.”

The SCOTUS docket in Skinner v. Switzer No. 09-9000 is available here.  
SCOTUS Blog provides the following summary and document links:

Title: Skinner v. Switzer
Docket: 09-9000
Issue: Whether a convicted prisoner seeking access to biological evidence for DNA testing may assert that claim in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, or whether such a claim may be asserted only in a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Opinion below (5th Circuit)

Petition for certiorari

Brief in opposition

Petitioner’s reply

For a great procedural roadmap, see Mark W. Bennett’s Defending People blog post and his recent The Trial Warrior Blog guest post: A Triumph of Civil Litigation.

Related blog posts are available at:

The Agitator


PrisonMovement Weblog

Reason.com’s Hit & Run Blog

The Skeptical Juror

The StandDown Texas Project

Texas Death Penalty Abolition Blog

Hank Skinner is represented by Robert C. Owen of Owen Rountree LLP/University of Texas at Austin and Douglas G. Robinson and Maria Cruz Melendez of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates.

H/T: Carol Leonard via Twitter: @PrisonReformMvt

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