The Alabama Supreme Court has scheduled execution dates for Tommy Arthur and Carey Grayson, despite questions about the reliability of their death sentences.
The court set Tommy Arthur’s execution date for March 29, 2012, which is the first execution date in Alabama so far this year.
The court stayed an earlier execution date for Mr. Arthur in 2008 after another person, Bobby Ray Gilbert, confessed that he committed the crime that sent Mr. Arthur to death row.
The Jefferson County Circuit Court then ordered DNA testing of physical evidence that could link Gilbert to the offense, but state officials testified that the DNA sample was destroyed in 1982 based on the advice of prosecutors.
Carey Grayson is scheduled to be put to death in Alabama on April 12, 2012.
In Mr. Grayson’s case, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to even consider any of his arguments by denying him permission to appeal. Mr. Grayson challenged the reliability of his death sentence because his lawyers failed to adequately investigate in preparation for the penalty phase of his capital trial. They failed to find and present to the sentencing judge and jury information about Mr. Grayson’s very tragic background, including that he was severely neglected by his parents, went hungry for years after his mother died when he was 12, developed mental illness as a result of trauma, and the fact that he was homeless at age 15.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently detailed the deficiencies in Alabama’s death penalty system in a case granting relief to an Alabama death row inmate who had been abandoned by his lawyers and unfairly denied appellate review.