Wednesday, October 7, 2009

See No Evil: Texas Governor Fires Commissioners Investigating Willingham Innocence Claim

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) reports this interesting story:

On September 30, Texas Governor Rick Perry replaced the chairman and two members of a state commission that is investigating whether inaccurate evidence of arson was presented at the trial of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004. The state’s Forensic Science Commission was scheduled to conduct a public hearing in two days and receive testimony from Craig Beyler, a nationally known expert who called the Willingham investigation “slipshod,” and concluded that “almost all of the evidence presented [w]as based on junk science.” Beyler's report for the Commission concluded that “no credible evidence existed to believe that the fire, that killed three children, was caused by arson.”

Governor Perry denied Willingham’s request for a stay of execution five years ago that would have allowed the courts time to review new reports questioning the fire investigation. Perry has continued to discount forensic-expert Beyler’s conclusions and to argue that there is evidence of Willingham’s guilt. The governor said that the three commission members were all at the end of their terms and dismissing them was “pretty standard business as usual." The Commission's scheduled hearing has now been cancelled.
President Truman famously said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"

But when you're Governor of Texas, it's more like, "if you can't stand the heat, fire the cook!"

I guess "I've made up my mind, don't bother me with the facts" is a Texas executive prerogative.


Justin said...

I've been following this case for some while now, and it's absolutely, positively disgusting.

I dream of a world where negligent homicide statutes apply to governmental entities.

Texas Moratorium Network said...

Sign the petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man

We plan to deliver the petition at the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24 in Austin at the Texas Capitol.