Case update: September 30, 2015

On September 30, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction over Mr. Noling’s DNA appeal.

Please find below a statement from Mr. Noling’s attorney in response to the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling:

“We are grateful that the Ohio Supreme Court will hear Tyrone Noling’s case. Mr. Noling is an innocent man who has been on death row for almost 20 years. As the Ohio Supreme Court determined in accepting jurisdiction, Mr. Noling’s case is one of great public importance and involves a substantial constitutional question. The Ohio Supreme Court will resolve the constitutionality of the appeals process when individuals have been sentenced to death and their applications for post-conviction DNA testing are denied.”

“Ohio must do everything in its power to be sure it does not execute an innocent man. The gaps in Ohio’s appeals process must be fixed. Non-capital defendants who have had their requests for post-conviction DNA testing denied are allowed to appeal to the Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court. However, capital defendants who have had their applications for post-conviction DNA testing denied are only permitted to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, which takes only a small number of cases per year. Giving individuals whose lives are at stake less court review is nonsensical as well as patently unconstitutional.”

“A complete appellate review is important as powerful evidence strongly supports Mr. Noling’s more than two-decade old assertion that he is innocent. No physical evidence ties Mr. Noling to the crime. All of the principal witnesses against him have recanted their testimony. Evidence that the State wrongfully withheld evidence at trial points to credible alternative suspects. Using the most advanced scientific technology to test shell casings and ring boxes could identify the person responsible for this crime. In addition, because no gun was ever found, Mr. Noling should be permitted to utilize the database that law enforcement uses to solve crimes to track down the murder weapon.”

Mr. Noling is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to grant him the same appellate review for his DNA application as non-capital defendants and allow the Court of Appeals to consider these important issues:

  • Mr. Noling is entitled to the results of the post-conviction DNA testing that he requested.
  • Mr. Noling should be permitted to request that the shell casings from the murder weapon in his case be run through the federal database in order to see if the murder weapon is linked to other crimes or a specific perpetrator.
  • A trial court must make findings in its selection of the lab to perform DNA testing, when the selection of the lab is in dispute.
  • A lab must make the scientific determinations listed in Ohio’s DNA testing statute based on scientific testing.”

— Carrie Wood, Assistant State Public Defender, Office of the Ohio Public Defender, September 30, 2015

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