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October 19, 2009

"Arson case adds new twist to Texas candidates' death penalty stance"

The title of this post is the headline of this interesting new article from the Dallas Morning News, which spotlights just one of the echoes of the new questions surrounding the guilt of executed Texas defendant Cameron Todd Willingham.  Here is how it starts:

As the debate over whether the state executed an innocent man spills over into the governor's race, Rick Perryand Kay Bailey Hutchison are operating by a longtime rule of Texas politics: Don't mess with the death penalty.

Perry defends the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham and assures conservative voters who will decide the Republican primary that the state's system of capital punishment is sound. Hutchison's task is more complicated. She argued that Perry, by politicizing the investigation, poses a threat to the death penalty by casting a cloud over the system.

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October 19, 2009 at 09:26 AM | Permalink

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» A Note of Caution on Willingham from Crime and Consequences Blog
At the Dallas Morning News's Texas Death Penalty Blog, editorial writer and death penalty opponent Rodger Jones has a note of caution for his fellow opponents:But we haven't heard the full and undistorted story about this tortured, politically tinged c... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 19, 2009 12:08:32 PM

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Also at the DMN is a blog post by editorial writer and death penalty opponent Rodger Jones, who writes, "I'm dismayed that so many people are jumping the gun on it -- assuming the worst on the part of the state and suspending all skepticism where fire expert Craig Beyler is concerned."

http://deathpenaltyblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/10/the-case-for-willinghams-innoc.html

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Oct 19, 2009 12:00:04 PM

Kent Scheidegger wrote: "Also at the DMN is a blog post by editorial writer and death penalty opponent Rodger Jones, who writes, 'I'm dismayed that so many people are jumping the gun on it -- assuming the worst on the part of the state and suspending all skepticism where fire expert Craig Beyler is concerned.'"

Suspending skepticism of science? Since when, other than in orthodox conservative circles, has being skeptical of scientific consensus been a virtue? Jones's "point" that Beyler hasn't proven a negative has no intellectual force whatseover. What Beyler (and the eight other fire science experts) has proved is that there was no scientific evidence of arson. And since there was also no direct evidence of arson, there is no evidence of arson. This of course does not mean that we have proven that Willingham did not commit arson. It also does not mean we have proven that Kent Scheidegger did not commit arson. Shall we therefore lay you on the gurney and inject poison into your veins, Kent? Or does that not reasonably follow?

You're grasping at straws.

Posted by: DK | Oct 19, 2009 2:23:19 PM

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