Ohio Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Tyrone Noling’s DNA Appeal

On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court held oral argument to address death row prisoner Tyrone Noling’s appeal of the trial court’s denial of his application for DNA testing. Mr. Noling, who has maintained his innocence for over twenty years, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to allow DNA testing that could prove his innocence. Mr. Noling remains on death row in danger of execution despite overwhelming evidence of innocence, including the fact that all of the principal witnesses against Mr. Noling have recanted their testimony. In addition, there is no physical evidence tying Mr. Noling to the murders and recently uncovered forensic and witness evidence, withheld from Mr. Noling’s trial attorneys, points to other viable suspects.

Mr. Noling asked the Ohio Supreme Court to ensure that evidence from his case is tested using the best and most accurate DNA technology available, stating that “the availability of advanced DNA technology…is necessary to obtain a result…” (p. 63 of Merit Brief: http://supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf_viewer.aspx?pdf=813337.pdf). Selecting the lab with this best technology for a particular case “is one of the singularly most important decisions that the trial court makes in a postconviction DNA testing case.” (p. 63)

Mr. Noling also requested be allowed to see the objective results of DNA testing which has already been performed. Prosecutors have opposed allowing Mr. Noling to access these results. As the Merit brief notes: “[b]oth science and the law require disclosure of complete and thorough results of DNA testing, if the purpose of Ohio’s DNA testing statute is to have any force and effect.” (p. 41)

Oral argument in State of Ohio v. Tyrone Noling can be viewed at this link: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/case-no-2014-1377-state-of-ohio-v-tyrone-l-noling

Mr. Noling’s application for DNA testing seeks:

  • Access to all results of post-conviction DNA testing;
  • For DNA testing of critical evidence touched by the actual killer, including shell casings and ring boxes from the crime scene;
  • For the shell casings from the murder weapon to be run through the federal database in order to see if the murder weapon is linked to other crimes or a specific perpetrator;
  • For the Ohio Supreme Court to direct the trial court to make findings when it selects a lab to perform DNA testing, and to select a lab that utilizes the newest DNA technology available in 2017;
  • For an appropriately selected lab to make the scientific determinations listed in Ohio’s DNA testing statute based on scientific testing rather than subjective and untested observations.

The relevant pleadings can be accessed here:

A short video about Mr. Noling’s case can be accessed here: https://vimeo.com/193942101

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