Attorney Barry Scheck plans to ask Texas Governor Rick Perry to order DNA testing in the case of Claude Jones, who maintained his innocence until his execution in December 2000. Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, says Jones’ conviction was largely based on dubious evidence. The state’s case against him included testimony from an accomplice linking Jones to the crime and the report of a state forensic scientist who examined a one-inch length of hair found at the crime scene. The scientist said that it was similar to Jones’ hair using microscopic hair comparison, a faulty test that has been replaced by the more precise science of DNA testing. Accomplice testimony has been proven to be often unreliable.

Scheck said that he may not necessarily be able to prove Jones’ innocence, but this case raises the question of whether then-Governor George W. Bush knew of Jones’ request for DNA testing when he refused to grant a stay of execution. Files uncovered by the Chicago Tribune note that Bush’s staff inquired about the hair comparison as they prepared to present their recommendation to the Governor, but the final summary of the case that was sent to Bush did not mention Jones’ request for DNA testing of the hair. DNA testing after an execution is rare.

(Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2005). See Innocence.