Chatman's case was not a capital crime, but the problems that led to his wrongful conviction raise the question: How can we continue carrying out executions in Texas when we know the system is so prone to error?
For years, Texas has led the nation in the number of executions. Why don't we now strive to lead the nation in a new direction: reforming a justice system in urgent need of reform?
For years I supported capital punishment, but I have come to believe that our criminal justice system is incapable of adequately distinguishing between the innocent and guilty. It is reprehensible and immoral to gamble with life and death.
I am no bleeding heart. I have been a Republican for over 30 years. I started my career as a supporter of removing violent people from society for as long as possible, and I still believe that to be appropriate.
But I also believe that the government should be held to the strictest burden before it deprives a citizen of his freedom. It is not too much to ask that we not convict and execute innocent people in our quest to enforce the law. Let's get this system fixed.