Thursday, April 21, 2005

Murder the Texas Way

In another example of how much Texans love themselves a state sanctioned and good ol' fashioned killin', we learn that Texas executed... no, killed or murdered an innocent man.

With Texas' criminal justice system the subject of intense scrutiny for a crime lab scandal and a series of wrongful convictions, a state Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday about the possibility that Texas had experienced the ultimate criminal justice nightmare: the execution of an innocent person.

Does this come as any surprise? I mean, really does this surprise anyone? With a regime that pathologically lies about everything. They lie about the pretext for an unjustified war which leads to the murder of thousands. They lie about whether or not Georgie wrote Laura a cutesy poem. They lie repeatedly and without reservation or a concern with the consequences. Isn't that pathological? What's killing an innocent man?

Fourteen months after Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in the nation's busiest death chamber, a renowned arson expert and Willingham's lawyer told the Senate Criminal Justice Committee that they believed Willingham might have been innocent but found nobody willing to listen to their claim in the days before the execution in February 2004.

And will we hold accountable those who are responsible? Probably not. We expect our so-called watchdog the mainstream press to keep a good eye out for the public interest? Yeah right? They are not going to discuss this critical issue because that would mean to truly question and hold accountable the holders of life and death power. And we simply do not do that anymore in this country.

Think about it this way: How often does someone ask Bush for a straight answer? When do the press ask Condi to explain the mushroom cloud remark? How often does Rumsfeld get press responses like: "Mr. Secretary, that answer does not make any sense." Or "Mr. President where are the weapons of mass destruction and oh yeah... were you responsible for the killing of innocent men on death row when you were governor of Texas?"

Because governor Perry has only been following the example that you set, Mr. President.

Bush role in 2000 case

"The problem is, they're appointed by the governor," Whitmire, also a Democrat from Houston, said of the council's members. "I would almost give them subpoena power and the first time they abuse it, we'll all come back."

Scheck also pointed to the case of Claude Jones, executed in December 2000 for the murder of Allen Hilzendager, who was shot and killed in a 1989 liquor store robbery. In that case, Scheck said, counsel for then-Gov. George W. Bush prepared a recommendation for Bush that did not mention that Jones' request for a 30-day stay of execution was to allow DNA tests to be done on a hair found at the scene. Bush denied the request for a stay.

Last year, the Tribune asked to see the recommendation in the Willingham case to try to determine whether Perry was informed of Hurst's last-minute analysis. But the Tribune's request was rejected by state officials who said the documents are considered confidential.

Scheck told the Senate committee he believed the hair in the Jones case was still in evidence and that an innocence commission with broad powers could seek to test the hair to determine if Jones was guilty. Without that ability, Scheck testified, the commission "would be hampered or powerless in its ability to get to the bottom of this very important case."

Kill, Kill, Kill. Not very Christian, but sooooooo very Republican. Combined Governor "Good Hair" and current President "No Conscience" have managed to make sure that as many executions as possible occur, with the least possible amount of review.

Culture of Life indeed.