Alley's lawyers appeal judge ruling on DNA testing

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - The state Court of Criminal Appeals was asked today to allow DNA testing on evidence from the scene of the murder that death row inmate Sedley Alley was convicted of committing in 1985.

Barry Scheck, co-founder of the nonprofit legal clinic called the Innocence Project, asked a three-judge panel of the appeals court in Jackson to overturn a Memphis judge's ruling that blocks the testing.

Scheck said that state lawyers who have argued that Alley was properly convicted of murdering a 19-year-old woman in Shelby County have no way of knowing what such tests will find.

Jennifer Smith, an associate deputy attorney general in Tennessee, told the panel that evidence presented at Alley's trial in 1987 proved his guilt overwhelmingly and she said DNA tests, had they been available, would not have changed his jury's verdict to convict him of kidnapping and murdering Suzanne M. Collins, a Marine who was abducted while jogging at a Navy base.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)