Thursday, June 12, 2008

Former official voice of Texas death row now a defense witness

After serving as TDCJ's public spokesman for Texas' death penalty system for eight years, Larry Fitzgerald switched sides, earning him the label "traitor" from some of his former colleagues along with a new career as an expert witness. The Chicago Tribune has an interesting story today documenting Fitzgerald's new career ("Voice of death testifies for life," June 12) and the blowback its earned him from those on whose behalf he previously spoke. Since he left the state's employ in 2003, he's testified in more than two dozen trials, mostly capital defendants.

Fitzgerald's testimony most frequently focuses on the issue of future dangerousness, describing what happens to a prisoner who's convicted of a life sentence. "I needed somebody [who] could speak with firsthand information about how someone convicted of capital murder and sentenced to a life sentence would be handled," one attorney told the Tribune. "So the jury would be assured the security system could handle someone like that. It was his business as spokesman to make sure he knew what was going on all over the prison system."

See also (above) the effective chart published with the story portraying the portion of executions in Texas by year as a percentage of the whole. Texas accounted for 37% of all executions since the death penalty was revived in 1982, and 60% of executions in 2007. Texas' first execution since the Baze moratorium was lifted occurred last night, and 12 more are currently scheduled between now and the fall.


Anonymous said...

Larry Fitzgerald isn't a traitor, he's just someone looking for attention and additional income.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he's related to that IDIOT fitzgerald in Bexar County? He's a traitor to the community he was hired to protect!

Anonymous said...

This is a rehash of an article a few years ago about Fitzgerald. The reporter ought to be cited for plagiarism.