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The District Attorney and one of the deceased had been romantically involved. This was not part of the trial but will help students and investigators interpret the facts.

Who is Patrick Swiney? (1944 - 2009)

Patrick Swiney
Patrick Swiney has been incarcerated since 1989

(Note: on July 28, 2009 Patrick died in the infirmary at Donaldson Prison in Alabama because of medical neglect.

You may read more at these following sites:


Please download the following tribute to Patrick - A Circle of Friends.

Circle of Friends - Patrick

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Patrick Swiney is a graduate of the Alabama State Police Academy (1967) and the Huntsville Police Academy (1966). He is a former Police Officer serving with the Huntsville Police Department in Huntsville (1965-1969), the Vestavia Police Department in Vestavia Hills (1969-1973), and the Gulf Shores Police Department in Gulf Shores (1973-1977). Mr. Swiney served as Vice-President of the Fraternal Order of Police while with the Vestavia Police Department. While working for the Gulf Shores Police Department, Patrick was instrumental in exposing a drug smuggling operation resulting in the conviction of the District Attorney in Baldwin County and the Sheriff’s Department chief investigator. Patrick left police work due to his disillusionment with the law enforcement community (after the drug smuggling incident in Gulf Shores) and went to work first as a legal investigator (1977-1980) and then as an over-the-road driver (1980-1986).

Attempts were made to procure the original evidence in this case in order to subject that evidence to further testing. All attempts have failed due either to lost/destroyed evidence or requirements by the custodians that a subpoena issue before they will release evidence. The inability to procure the original evidence in this case led Patrick's wife, Sherry Swiney, to procure the services of Dr. Jon Nordby, Ph.D., D-ABMDI, to subject the claims presented by the State, whereby Patrick was convicted, to scientific forensic analysis. Dr. Nordby’s findings show that Patrick Swiney could not have committed the crimes for which he was convicted.

Legal Action (2003)

Click on Habeas Corpus petition below for documents filed in the court at that time and for the continuing Legal Actions since then.

A habeas corpus petition was filed on August 13, 2003, in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in Columbiana, Alabama. The petition is filed under the legal authority of Alabama Rule 32.1(e) by Wilson Myers, attorney for Patrick Swiney, a life without parole inmate currently incarcerated at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility near Bessemer.

Mr. Swiney has been in prison since 1989 on a charge of capital murder in the deaths of Betty Snow Swiney and Ronnie Pate near Saginaw in 1987. Previous post-conviction relief efforts have failed in state and federal courts. After 14 years, new evidence has been discovered by forensic expert Dr. Jon Nordby proving that Mr. Swiney did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted. According to Rule 32 a petitioner has one year after the discovery of new evidence to file for relief from the sentence that was imposed.

Mrs. Patrick Swiney has written a letter on behalf of the Swiney family urging the court to rule quickly on this petition as Mr. Swiney is in poor health and requires medical attention for heart problems. Mr. Swiney was transported to a local hospital just weeks ago for heart-related medical problems. The court has sixty days, under Alabama law, to rule on the petition or it is denied by default.

Post-conviction relief efforts in Alabama are limited to new evidence presentation after a petitioner has previously filed a Rule 32 petition; Mr. Swiney filed a prior habeas corpus petition in 1993. There are stipulations to presentation of new evidence that must be met in order to file a successive petition. Counsel for Mr. Swiney declares that all stipulations of Rule 32 have been met.

2009 Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by Philip Alston - Addendum - May 26, 2009: Mission to the United States of America - added June 06, 2009 "Serious flaws in the system are of obvious significance to the innocent convicted person, but also of serious concern for victims' families and the wider community, because wrongful convictions mean that true criminals remain at large." -- "But the truth is that Alabama's capital system is simply not designed to uncover cases of innocence, however compelling they might be. . . .but its officials would rather deny than confront criminal justice system flaws."

Patrick's letter to Alabama Germany Partnership — July 25, 2008

Philip Alston's response to Patrick — July 24, 2008

Patrick's letter to Philip Alston — July 11, 2008

Patrick's letter to NY Times — July 10, 2008

Patrick's letter to Philip Alston — July 5, 2008

Wilson's response to Patrick — July 3, 2008

Patrick's letter to Wilson — June 21, 2008

Wilson's withdrawal letter to Patrick — July 5, 2006

AWL - American Whistleblowers' League — June 25, 2006

NJCDLP - National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project — June 25, 2006

Kirwan Studios — June 25, 2006

Innocent In Prison Project International — June 22, 2006

Topix.net — June 21, 2006

AMOJ - A Matter Of Justice — February 16, 2006

AAPPI support — November 27, 2004

News Report - Source: CBS 42 — August 13, 2003

News Report - Source: NBC13 — August 13, 2003

CUADP - Citizens United for Alternatives to Death Penalty — August 14, 2003

Swiney Discussion Board — March 17, 2003

Swiney Investigation Team — Ongoing

Visit the Patrick Crusade site