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November 1, 2008

Notable call for an execution moratorium in Texas

This local story out of Austin, headlined "Exonerated inmates ask Texas to halt executions," reports on an effort by a notable group of individuals seeking death penalty reform:

Twenty wrongly convicted men, freed from death rows across the country, stood in the state Capitol on Friday to ask Texas to acknowledge that innocent people have been — and will be — sentenced to death.

The exonerated men, members of Witness to Innocence, a Philadelphia-based organization that is holding its annual meeting in Austin, want Texas to create a commission to search for wrongful convictions. And while the commission works, they want a moratorium on executions in the busiest death penalty state — with 419 executions since 1982 and six more scheduled this month....

The most recent Texas exoneration was in September , when a Collin County court dismissed the capital murder case against Michael Blair , sentenced to die for the 1993 murder of 7-year-old Ashley Estell.

"It's a national problem, but a problem that has a distinct Texas face," state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, told the members of Witness to Innocence. Naishtat said he will introduce a bill next session to give the governor the power to declare a temporary moratorium on executions. He also promised to work on behalf of a bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, to create a Texas innocence commission.

However, any bill to halt executions stands no chance of passing the Texas Legislature, Naishtat said. Capital punishment has substantial support in Texas. The 2007 Texas Crime Poll by Sam Houston State University found 74 percent of Texans support the death penalty. And 66 percent said they were confident that innocent people are protected from execution.

November 1, 2008 at 07:01 AM | Permalink

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Comments

On Thursday October 30th, Texas committed the sin of executing an innocent man, Gregory Wright. That fact will haunt Texas and the USA for all time.

Posted by: peter | Nov 1, 2008 8:38:48 AM

Texas will get over it.

Posted by: S.cotus | Nov 3, 2008 1:41:08 PM

I wouldn't bet your shirt on that.

Posted by: peter | Nov 3, 2008 3:32:30 PM

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