Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Paul House update

I first wrote about Paul House back in May here. He has been on death row for 22 years while steadfastly maintaining his innocence. While in prison, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After years of foot-dragging and fighting in court, Mr. House finally got to do DNA testing that thoroughly discredited the state's theory of the case. The semen turned out to be her husband's, not House's. He also located new evidence that pointed to the woman's husband as the killer. The United States Supreme Court went so far as to write that Mr. House was most likely not guilty. That was in 2006.

As of this morning, Paul House is finally, FINALLY, off death row and out of jail. Even though his conviction had been vacated, the state was still holding him pending a re-trial. Because he was in jail awaiting trial, he was entitled to having a bail amount set. (Keep in mind, the state has graciously agreed not to pursue the death penalty at this new trial.) Originally, his bond was set at $500,000, well beyond his mother's means.

Last week, a judge reduced that bond to $100,000. Subsequently, an anonymous donor contacted the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing and put up the bond money. So thanks to the kindness of strangers, Paul House was able to roll out of jail this morning. He is still on home monitoring until the trial (if there is a trial), and he can't leave his mother's house, but at least he can sit on a porch and breathe fresh air, go to bed when he wants to, and have privacy and quiet.

I hope his mother and whoever else comprises his support team will be up to the challenge of helping him adjust to life on the outside. I hope he will be able to remain on the outside for the rest of his days. The retrial is scheduled for October. I will be eager to see how this case will play out.

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