Sunday, April 15, 2007

Risk of innocent Texan executed "profoundly troubling" to 5th Circuit judge

Texas' death penalty is fast becoming the central focus of the national debate over capital punishment, both in the media and at the US Supreme Court - the poster child for a practice that's declining in most other states and nations. The American Constitution Society blog has a good preview of three Texas capital cases awaiting review by the US Supreme Court, authored by Ana Otero of Texas Southern University law school. Her article quoted 5th Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King who finds "profoundly troubling"
the risk that an innocent man will be executed. I must say that from my experience with capital cases, there is usually a great deal of evidence that the defendant is, in fact, guilty. But the lengthy investigation of the Houston crime lab, which exposed evidence of serious problems such as falsified test results, including DNA test results, and the tailoring of report to fit police theories certainly suggests that even scientific evidence, to which we normally attach considerable confidence, can be flawed. Only God’s justice is perfect justice. The assessment of the death penalty, however well designed the system for doing so, remains a human endeavor with a consequent risk of error that may not be remediable.” (South Texas Catholic News, Oct. 20, 2006)
That's awfully strong stuff from a federal circuit court judge whose jurisdiction includes the Lone Star State. Those interested should see an additional preview of one of the cases from the American Bar Journal. Meanwhile, Doc Berman points to coverage of the death penalty today in the Dallas Morning News, including a call by the editorial board for abolishing capital punishment in Texas. The News article was particularly informative, and included this chart showing that Texas has accounted for a whopping 40% of executions nationwide over the last 10 years.


Anonymous said...

When I was in school I remember studying about the death penalty. It has been shown innocent people have been executed. It costs more to execute someone opposed to life in prison. An area where there is no death penalty has a lower violent crime rate.

The only plus to executing someone is the political mileage our elected officials get. A perfect example is George Bush who executed a slue of people when he was governor. He made it to the White House on his get tough on crime focus. Now he has finally gotten to execute a few folks in Iraq. I am starting to see a pattern behavior!

The bottom line is that it is prone to mistakes and it is much more expensive than life in prison. The death penalty makes the United States look like a violent and blood thirsty people. Politics too often gets involved in the process causing people to bend the rules to get a conviction and death penalty for the wrong reasons. It is way past time to kill the death penalty!

Anonymous said...

It is indeed all about politics. Any death caused by a human being is awful and should be avoided at all cost. It doesn't matter if it is war or capital punishment.

Death by lethal injection is the most fully pre-meditated murder immaginable.

If we're all oopposed to pre-meditated murder, how can we continue to tolerate the death penalty?

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 10:42 ~ not only does it make America look violent and blood thirsty, it also makes Texas, California and Florida look particularly ignorant and pig-headed when so many other states dont have the death penalty at all or chose not to implement it when they do. Dont underestimate the way the rest of the world sees America on the back of how GW Bush behaves: you all make fun of Rednecks; we all make fun of Texans.

Anonymous said...

Police and Fire Blotter 04.15.07
April 15, 2007
The body of a 49-year-old man was found hanging from a tree in an alley between the 2000 block of Merchant and Clinton streets Saturday afternoon. Abilene police said they believe the man, who did not live in the area, stabbed himself in the chest area and then hanged himself from the tree. The death was still being investigated Saturday evening.
- Staff report,1874,ABIL_7959_5485319,00.html

Anonymous said...

Friday, April 6, 2007
Haskell Boy Leaving After Racial Prank
A fifteen-year-old boy has been pulled out of school by his family in Haskell after finding a noose in his locker.
KTAB News talked to the boy's two uncles, who said that the incident happened on Tuesday. The boy is black and was reportedly having trouble with three white students.
The teenager is from Dumas, north of Amarillo. He recently moved to Haskell to live with his uncle.
The family tells us that they have talked to the school who says that the three responsible for the prank have apologized.
The family plans on going back to the school today to talk with the principal and superintendent.
KTAB News -- Coverage You Can Count On

Police and Fire Blotter 04.15.07
April 15, 2007
The body of a 49-year-old man was found hanging from a tree in an alley between the 2000 block of Merchant and Clinton streets Saturday afternoon. Abilene police said they believe the man, who did not live in the area, stabbed himself in the chest area and then hanged himself from the tree. The death was still being investigated Saturday evening.
- Staff report

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, July 28, 1998
Girl, 15, commits suicide in juvenile
detention center
Staff Writer
A 15-year-old girl apparently hanged herself in the Taylor County Juvenile Detention Center on Monday morning.
The teen was taken to Abilene Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m.
Justice of the Peace Rex Andrew ordered an autopsy be conducted by the Tarrant County examiner's office.
Abilene police are investigating the death, Sgt. Garland Wade said.
"The entire matter will be immediately and thoroughly reviewed," County Judge Lee Hamilton said. "Additional information will be released as soon as it becomes available.
"Our sincere condolences have been expressed to the child's family."
The suicide marked the first time in the 22-bed JDC's 15-year history that a detainee has committed suicide, said Bob Wakefield, the chief juvenile probation officer.
Wakefield said two or three juveniles had attempted suicide in the past.
"There wasn't anything in this person's history to indicate that this might be a problem," he said. "We had no indication at all that we needed to watch her carefully.
"I think everything was done properly," Wakefield said.
The girl, who lived in the North 13th and Ash area, was taken to JDC Friday night after she was involved in an aggravated assault that hospitalized another teen, authorities said.
The juvenile was no stranger to JDC.
Her first offense, a misdemeanor assault, was recorded when she was 11. She had also been taken there on two other aggravated assaults and two thefts, Wakefield said.
He said some of the offenses were pending court action. He said he probably would have recommended probation.
Wakefield said the girl returned to her cell at 11:35 a.m. after visiting her mother.
"At five minutes to 12, they brought her her lunch and she had hung herself," he said.
Wakefield said the teen took a bed sheet and tied it to the mesh covering the windows.
Wakefield said the girl's mother was scheduled to meet with a probation officer that afternoon.
She would have most likely been released into the custody of her mother, he said.
Wakefield said JDC has policies in place for juveniles who might be suicidal.
They are put in a special room for observation and checked on every five minutes, he said.
Typically, non-suicidal juveniles are checked on every 30 minutes, Wakefield said.

Sageb1 said...

Every death in texas is Bush's fault.

His policies there as governor has left a trail of deaths, including a high rate of murder suicides by depressed mothers.

This is another case of misogyny by the State.

The main problem is, schools do not teach boys to be respectful of girls.

As well, there are no services that adequate address the needs of women in poverty.

Men in poverty also have a high rate of domestic abuse, mainly due to the way men are raised: to hide their feelings, which stifles honest communication between the sexes.

Given that most abuse begins when the woman hits the man to get his attention, what we aren't teaching in school is that women should not expect men to communicate like them.

The problem with the public school system is that it assumes equality extends to communication.

This is untrue.

A competent guidance teacher could teach this.