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October 13, 2009

Texas legislature to start looking into Willingham case

This news update from the Dallas Morning News, headlined "Senate committee will examine Todd Willingham case," provides this report on the latest developments surrounding the Todd Willlingham case investigation:

Sen. John Whitmire said to mark Nov. 10 on the calendar in pencil.  That's when he expects the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to convene a special hearing to see what's going on with the Texas Forensic Science Commission and its investigation into the arson evidence used in the Cameron Todd Willingham case.

The young and little-known agency was upended by Gov. Rick Perry, who replaced his four appointees on the board about 10 days ago.  His office said the governor was just trading out appointees whose terms had ended, but there are several indications that Perry was concerned about the direction of the investigation.  First, his assistant general counsel started sitting in on their meetings. Second, his four appointees got the hook just two days before a big public hearing on the Willingham case.

Willingham was executed after a review by Perry in February 2004. Perry has been dismissive of arson experts and scientists who now say there was virtually no evidence of arson in the case.  But scrutiny of the Willingham conviction has been gathering steam and anti-death penalty advocates are highlighting it as a case of an innocent man executed.

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October 13, 2009 at 08:51 AM | Permalink

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