updated 9:31 p.m. EDT, Tue May 12, 2009
By Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A former death row inmate in Tennessee has been cleared of murder, three years after the Supreme Court raised repeated questions about his conviction.
State prosecutors on Tuesday asked a judge to drop all charges against Paul House, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 1986. Special Judge Jon Blackwood accepted the request.
House had been scheduled to be retried next month for the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey. He had been on death row for 22 years but was released on bail last year. He has multiple sclerosis and must use a wheelchair.
The high court ruled in June 2006 that House was entitled to a new hearing.
"Although the issue is closed, we conclude that this is the rare case where -- had the jury heard all the conflicting testimony -- it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack reasonable doubt," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-3 majority.
House's appeal was championed by the Innocence Project, affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law in New York.
"In the three years since the U.S. Supreme Court stepped into this case and sent it back to the trial court, substantial additional DNA testing and further investigation have shown that he is innocent," said Peter Neufeld, the group's co-director. "Each time a layer of this case was peeled away, it revealed more evidence of Paul House's innocence."