Thursday, October 15, 2009

Texas Executions

The biggest problem with executions is killing innocent people. The biggest problem with politicians is an inability for self-reflection, the ability to admit error. In Texas that creates a perfect storm.

Texas governors love executing prisoners. It's a machismo thing. George Bush Jr. killed 154 prisoners in his six years; Rick Perry has killed 202 in eight years, with six more scheduled before the end of the year. That is a record. No governor in American history has ever killed more prisoners than Rick Perry.

Texas also leads the nation is the number of innocent people executed. Bush was notorious for his disinterest in reading clemency reports. Perry, on the other hand, is an ambitious man determined to build a political empire with the bones of the dead. Perry, like Bush before him, has a simple philosophy - kill 'em all and let God sort the innocent from the guilty.

The stories of the innocents killed by Texas governors could fill a book. There is Ruben Cantu, killed in 1993, the victim of sloppy police work. Frances Newton died in 2005 because the court appointed an amateur attorney to defend her - Ron Mock allegedly had a habit of showing up in court drunk, 16 of his 19 clients ended up on death row.

Then there is the now famous case of Cameron Todd Willingham, killed in 2004. He was convicted using clearly fabricated evidence. He died because a district attorney wanted to pad his stats. With the facts showing Willingham innocent Perry has become dedicated to covering up the case. Perry intends to be proud of every prisoner he has killed and won't allow facts to interfere.

There are more innocents lined up to be killed by Texas like Jeff Wood who was convicted of murder because he was standing outside a store when someone else inside the store killed a clerk.

See also the Texas Moratorium Network.

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