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September 2, 2011

"Don’t Blame Perry for Texas’s Execution Addiction. He Doesn’t Have Much to Do With It"

The title of this post is the headline of this great new pieceby Professors Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker appearing in The New Republic.  Here are excerpts:

Though governors are often depicted as “presiding” over state executions, as a matter of both law and recent tradition, the Texas governor’s office plays a quite limited role in the administration of the death penalty.  The decision to seek a death sentence is an entirely local prerogative — made by the district attorneys in Texas’s 254 counties (a majority of which have not sent anyone to death row since 1976). Thus, just as Governor Perry bears no responsibility for the size of the substantial death row he inherited, he cannot be credited or blamed for the significant decrease in capital sentencing over the past decade, a decrease mirrored in the rest of the country. The governor also plays no role in defending capital convictions in state and federal court (a job shared by the local district attorneys and the state attorney general — an independently-elected official).  As convicted death-sentenced inmates exhaust their appeals, the decision to set execution dates remains entirely with the trial judge who presided over the conviction and sentence. Again, unlike in some other states, the governor has no role — formal or informal — in deciding whether to move a case (and a defendant) to the precipice of an execution....

Although the Texas death penalty train runs largely without a conductor, Governor Perry’s few public moments involving capital punishment provide a revealing record of his executive role respecting the death penalty.... His veto of a ban on executing the mentally retarded has had little effect, given the Supreme Court’s conclusion that “evolving standards of decency” require such a ban as a matter of constitutional law.  But it does show Perry’s willingness to take an extreme position — and his unwillingness or inability to offer a thoughtful defense of that position.  In addition, Perry’s abdication of executive review of executions in the nation’s death penalty epicenter is regrettable and frightening, given the very real possibility of the wrongful execution of the innocent. Cameron Todd Willingham’s case is emblematic of that possibility — and here, Perry’s lack of transparency, coupled with his willingness to use his political muscle to deep-six a reasonable investigation, speak the most loudly about what his death penalty politics say about his political leadership.

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"Don’t Blame Perry for Texas’s Execution Addiction. He Doesn’t Have Much to Do With It"

The basic reason not to "blame" Perry for Texas executions is that capital punishment isn't blameworthy. It's a signal of how deaf abolitionists are to the public that they think the electorate is going to mark down Perry for his record on the death penalty.

Righto.

Have at it, guys.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 2, 2011 1:38:20 PM

I am however somewhat surprised how limited the TX governors clemency power is did not gain mention in this introductory section. It may be discussed in the full article but I haven't looked to see.

And I must agree with Bill Otis on this one, most places I've lived it's more a matter of "what could we do to become more like that?" than blame, while never quite gathering the political momentum to actually do it.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 2, 2011 1:55:07 PM

Finally an accurate, non-biased article about Perry and the Texas death penalty system.

Posted by: DaveP | Sep 2, 2011 2:36:50 PM

Soronel

There is mention of the Texas governors clemency power.

"Perry’s decision to continue what is essentially a “no clemency” policy in Texas represents a choice for which he should be held accountable: Members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles are gubernatorial appointees subject to gubernatorial influence—influence that Perry has chosen not to exert despite a number of compelling cases."

Which means Perry can conveniently say "The buck stops there". Nifty set-up they have in Texas.

Posted by: Robert | Sep 2, 2011 3:09:57 PM

Robert stated: "Which means Perry can conveniently say "The buck stops there". Nifty set-up they have in Texas."

Why would he? The DP is popular in Texas and throughout the country. I am sure he is willing to take all of the credit he can, deserved or not. He has absolutely no reason to push the "buck" somewhere else. As Bill stated, it's moronic that the liberal press is even pushing this angle. Not only does he win on the issue, he wins big.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 2, 2011 4:07:24 PM

Robert --

Do you think maybe the behavior of the killer, and not just the Governor, has something to do with the decision to go forward with the death penalty?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 2, 2011 4:22:14 PM

Death penalty sentences are very much in decline in Texas as in other states. The pro-dp lobby try to sustain the false impression of "popularity" based on dubious poll questions. Where polls fairly give people a choice between death and LWOP, the result is far less conclusive, and indeed often even.
Perry's pro-dp stance is well known. When pressed he asserts his personal view in that regard. Mostly he claims no responsibility, but when controversy over guilt or innocence arises he does his best to run for cover by stacking appropriate boards and committees with his own cronies.
As for Bill's comment "Do you think maybe the behavior of the killer, and not just the Governor, has something to do with the decision to go forward with the death penalty?", in Texas you do not need to have been proven to have killed anyone to receive the death penalty or to be executed. Some prosecutors and courts are just happy that someone dies to avenge a murder.

Posted by: peter | Sep 2, 2011 4:55:41 PM

peter --

"Some prosecutors and courts are just happy that someone dies to avenge a murder."

Could you please name three prosecutors and three courts that are "just happy that someone dies to avenge a murder," together with the specific evidence supporting that characterization as to each.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 2, 2011 5:12:59 PM

Soronel,

Thought I would do some research into why Texas has this system. Turns out in the 1920's and '30's, then governor, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, handed out 4000 pardons during her two terms under the pretense of relieving prison overcrowding. Others suspected kickbacks. Out of this was born the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
This explains the nifty set-up. My issue with Perry is he can play it both ways, be pro-capital punishment while deflecting any controversy back to the Board of Pardons. But he inherited this system, and yes to your point, he has every reason to play it to his advantage.

Bill,

My concern was not with the behaviour of the condemned or governor, only in why the executive branch seems to be hamstrung in acting on clemency. The Texas Board of Pardons seems to be created to prevent corruption, however, for matters of commutation/clemency in regards to the death penalty, the power should ultimately rest with the Governor.

Posted by: Robert | Sep 2, 2011 6:28:57 PM

This is a terribly ignorant article.

Perry could commute every single death sentence to life in prison if he wanted because he appoints the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. He could fill it with anti-death penalty people.

He could even justify that approach by noting the millions of dollars it would save Texas, and the embarrassment it would save Texas for executing innocents like Willingham.

I have yet to understand how Perry can view abortion as murder but have no qualms murdering adults or teens via the death penalty, especially the occasional innocent ones who are wrongly convicted.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 2, 2011 8:50:39 PM

Peter stated: "Death penalty sentences are very much in decline in Texas as in other states. The pro-dp lobby try to sustain the false impression of "popularity" based on dubious poll questions."

Speaking of dubious.

You only need to ask one question to know the real support for the DP. If I remember correctly, the support for Timothy McVeigh being executed was pushing 90%. That means that 90% of Americans support the DP in at least some cases and CANNOT be called "abolitionists." For a more recent look, I am sure substituting "Osama bin Laden" would have polled as high or even higher.

What you want is to count the people that do not support the DP in most cases as on your "side." The problem for you is that you chose an absolutist position, so you cannot. Americans are generally more nuanced than you. For instance, I am one that you and your ilk would call "bloodlusting, vengeful, etc." because of my support. However, if you asked me if I supported LWOP or the DP in most cases, I would have to say LWOP even though I would expand the DP a great deal. And we are definitely not on the same "side."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 2, 2011 8:51:19 PM

@Tim
"I have yet to understand how Perry can view abortion as murder but have no qualms murdering adults or teens via the death penalty, especially the occasional innocent ones who are wrongly convicted."
1. Abortion kills the innocent, not rapists or murderers.
2. You could abolish prisons on the same argument since many more innocents have wound up doing life than on death row.
3. You could abolish prisons to save money, but I wouldn't recommend it.
4. No evidence has come to light to prove Willingham was innocent, only that there was no scientific evidence that an arson occurred. Arson is one of the rare crimes where a crime can take place but leave no scientific evidence, owing intense heat and water destroying what evidence there would have been.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 2, 2011 10:43:12 PM

@MikeinCT

1. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill." It doesn't say anything about it being ok to kill rapists and murderers.

2-3. It is not the same argument at all. Prisons serve a valuable function by keeping criminals from committing more crimes. States could save millions by not executing inmates but giving them life without parole. That would still prevent them from committing more murders.

4. Without so much testimony from the incompetent state arson investigators that the Willingham fire was arson, he would never have been convicted. If a real arson expert had done the original investigation, Willingham would have never been arrested. A real arson expert would have reported that there was no evidence of arson and probably would have found evidence of an electrical short in the space heater that the actual arson investigators threw out with the trash.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 3, 2011 12:05:43 AM

@Tim
1. I'm no longer practicing, so I don't really care. That being said, the original meaning 'thou shalt not murder' not 'thou shalt not kill' which is very different.
2. and 3. And if they kill again behind bars? And how is someone who is doing life for a crime they did not commit any less victimized by the state than an innocent on death row?
4. There was circumstantial evidence in his case unrelated to the scientific evidence. There are plenty of people on death row or serving life based on circumstantial evidence.

"A real arson expert would have reported that there was no evidence of arson and probably would have found evidence of an electrical short in the space heater that the actual arson investigators threw out with the trash."

How do you know that?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 3, 2011 2:56:40 AM

Tim --

"The Bible says, 'Thou shalt not kill.' It doesn't say anything about it being ok to kill rapists and murderers."

Two points. First, what the Bible says (or the Koran or the Talmud) doesn't run the show. Separation of church and state and all that. Second, under your theory of Biblical prohibition, it's impermissible to kill in self defense or in defense of a child about to be slaughtered. Is that correct?

"Prisons serve a valuable function by keeping criminals from committing more crimes. States could save millions by not executing inmates but giving them life without parole. That would still prevent them from committing more murders."

That is simply not true. See Allen v. Woodford, 395 F.3d 979 (9th Cir. 2005).

"Without so much testimony from the incompetent state arson investigators that the Willingham fire was arson, he would never have been convicted."

That is just so much speculation, as MikeinCT has noted. Nor does it answer the key question: Was Willingham actually innocent? Even Professors Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker do not make that claim, and with good reason. The Willingham team's main expert testified that he could not rule out arson, and Willingham's lawyer (whom no one has accused of being ineffective) has said emphatically (post-execution) that his client was guilty.

Do you know more about the case than his lawyer?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 3, 2011 10:20:26 AM

Tim,

Although Bill is correct that the Bible "doesn't run the show", I do believe that this is still a legitimate comment to respond to because you are attempting to make a moral argument to Christians that their support the DP is not Biblical.

In short, Tim is wrong.

He is wrong because he decides to use the English translation of a word that was not originally written in English. The word used in the Decalogue is "ratsach." This does not mean to "kill" but if you use the word in the context of how it is used in the remainder of the Bible, it means to kill in a predatory manner, like an animal:

1) as an angry reaction to stimulus; or
2) lying in wait, as one waits for prey.

If it was an exhortation to never kill a human being, a form of the verb "niphal" would have been used.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 3, 2011 11:49:05 AM

Bill,

Thanks fer straightenin' everbody out again. I been off the computer.

This article would make good tinder to burn all the abolitionists at the steak.

Longhorn steaks that is!

Hope you can make it to the party.

Posted by: Al Ammo | Sep 3, 2011 12:57:42 PM

@MikeinCT

There are many studies that find that it costs far more to execute an inmate than keep them in prison for life. http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty

MikeinCT wrote "Willingham's lawyer (whom no one has accused of being ineffective)"

Willingham's lawyers have been accused of being ineffective. They put up almost no defense and missed deadlines in appeals that would have extended his life.

- They believed he was guilty, which maybe explain their poor defense.
- They urged him to plead guilty.
- They didn't look very hard for an arson expert who would dispute the state's arson investigators.
- They didn't question the limited credentials of the state's arson investigators.
- They didn't challenge misstatement's of fact by state arson investigators, such as aluminum only melting in fires fueled by an accelerant.

It is really compelling how easily a real arson expert ripped the state arson investigator's report to shreds: http://www.innocenceproject.org/docs/ArsonReviewReport.pdf

Posted by: Tim | Sep 3, 2011 6:13:16 PM

@Bill Otis

You say the Bible actually says one should not kill another person "as an angry reaction to stimulus."

The death penalty often results because of an "angry reaction" to a murder.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 3, 2011 6:21:08 PM

TarlsQtr --

Christian religious principles are a perfectly proper (and in my view, benevolent) source of the morality that underlies law. My only point with Tim was that no religion per se makes rules that can be directly imported into secular law.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 3, 2011 7:01:55 PM

Tim --

Assuming everything you assert is true, it still does not provide proof that Willingham was innocent.

You don't deny that Willingham's expert has said that he cannot rule out arson. That admission by itself makes such proof impossible. The whole case for innocence is that there was no crime all because the house burned down OTHER THAN because of arson. Since Willingham's side admits that arson can't be ruled out, it can't show that there was no crime. Without that showing, there is not and cannot be a definitive case for innocence.

I also notice that you have not answered whether the Bible, which you claim forbids killing, forbids it in cases of self-defense or defense of another. If you care to answer, I'm all ears.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 3, 2011 7:08:18 PM

@Tim
I never brought up Willingham's lawyer. Maybe it would help to read my posts before you respond to them.

As for the costs of LWOP vs the death penalty, I've yet to hear of a study where they took the full costs of LWOP into account. For instance, health care for aging or dying inmates, hazard pay for guards who work around more dangerous inmates, the costs of prosecuting inmates for crimes committed behind bars and the costs of appeals filed by lifers.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 3, 2011 8:23:32 PM

@Bill Otis

How can you prove someone is innocent? That's not how our legal system works. People are found guilty or not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

All the 7 or 8 arson experts who reviewed the case agree there was no evidence of arson in the Willingham case. Scientists will usually say there is a possibility of arson even if none was found but that possibility could be extremely small, like 1 in a thousand or 1 in a million. A very slight possibility is certainly not "beyond a reasonable doubt."

The state never had a logical motive why Willingham would want to kill his children.

If you use the 7-8 arson experts conclusion that there was no evidence the fire was arson, how can you find Willingham guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt?"

Posted by: Tim | Sep 3, 2011 9:31:59 PM

@MikeinCT

I apologize for attributing the lawyer comments to you. That was Bill Otis talking about Willingham's lawyer.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 3, 2011 9:48:39 PM

Tim --

The proposition put forth is that Texas executed a factually innocent person. For purposes of establishing this proposition, it makes no difference whether, in retrospect, the jury ought to have concluded that there was a reasonable doubt. The only question at this stage is whether Willingham has been proved not to have done it. That has not been done (which is exactly why the Steikers don't claim it has). Nor could it be done, since, as you concede, arson cannot be excluded according to Willingham's own expert.

Of course abolitionists will insist anyway that he was innocent. They pulled the same stunt, with the same amount of truth, about Roger Keith Coleman.

"How can you prove someone is innocent?"

I'm not trying to prove anyone is innocent. Your side is. This is a question for them to answer, not me.

P.S. I'll give a couple of hints, however: (1) When the allegedly murdered person shows up a few years later, as happened in the 1600's, or (2) When there is a videotape of the accused having a drink in a bar in Istanbul at the time the victim was killed in Amarillo.

P.P.S. It's an odd question in any event, since abolitionists claim all the time that X number of people have been released from death row because they have been "proved innocent."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 3, 2011 11:00:27 PM

Tim stated: "You say the Bible actually says one should not kill another person "as an angry reaction to stimulus."

"The death penalty often results because of an "angry reaction" to a murder."

Wrong. It is obvious that the Bible is speaking of what we would today call "crimes of passion" and the DP does not meet the standard of even your watered down version.

It does not pass the sniff test to call the verdict and its implementation "an angry reaction to stimulus" when neither the judge, prosecutors, nor jurors have any personal skin in the game. If any of those were made up of the victim's friends and family, you may have an argument. And "angry reactions to stimuli" do not take an average of 10 years and countless appeals to come to fruition.

You are attempting to stretch the definition beyond all recognition.

Bill Otis stated: "Christian religious principles are a perfectly proper (and in my view, benevolent) source of the morality that underlies law. My only point with Tim was that no religion per se makes rules that can be directly imported into secular law."

Thanks, Bill. I agree. I never took issue with your original statement, in fact, I agree. Although the basis of our laws come from Judeo-Christian religious principles, they should have no direct impact on specific secular law, including the DP. This country is not a Middle-Eastern sharia-based system.

I felt that Tim tried to use the Bible to convince Christians that they could not support the DP. I would never try to prove or disprove the efficacy of a secular law based on the Bible but because he tried to, I felt it was OK to engage the attempt.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 3, 2011 11:25:24 PM

Bill --

I think you are correct that DNA evidence does not always prove a convicted murderer innocent. It merely undermines the state's theory of the crime and introduces reasonable doubt. That's why they throw out the conviction or at least release the inmate.

That seems to be essentially what happened in the Willingham case when arson experts completely repudiated the state arson investigators' testimony leaving the state with no evidence of arson. That certainly introduced reasonable doubt that murder by arson even occurred. If there was no arson, there could be no murder by arson.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 4, 2011 12:55:40 AM

TarlsQtr --

Catholics have have developed far better Christian arguments against the death penalty than I ever could. I'll defer to them on this question:

http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0195.asp

Posted by: Tim | Sep 4, 2011 1:26:13 AM

Tim,

That you can find a liberal wing of a 2 billion strong Church is not that astounding. What the Catechism of the CC says:

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

Now, it goes on to say that in an overwhelming percentage of cases, other means (prison) can achieve this goal and the DP is not necessary. I agree, and an overwhelming majority of murderers never get the DP for the same reason.

In a nutshell, the RCC is the oldest continuous institution on earth. In that 2000 year history, no Pope has ever made an ex cathedra statement forbidding the DP.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 4, 2011 10:34:19 AM

TarlsQtr -

I think it may be the other way around. Many rank and file U.S. Catholics support the DP, but the Catholic church leaders are opposed to it except in very rare instances. One such instance could have been Osama Bin Laden.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II "declared the Church's near total opposition to the death penalty."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/angel/procon/popestate.html

Posted by: Tim | Sep 4, 2011 10:44:29 AM

Tim stated: "...but the Catholic church leaders are opposed to it except in very rare instances."

Agreed, and it is "very rare" and would still be "very rare" even if we tripled the amount of executions.

And it seems that you do not to know the difference between a papal statement (an opinion)and an ex cathedra statement (infallible). In spite of the misinformation the media has been spewing for 30 years, Catholics commit no mortal or even venial sin by supporting the death penalty, unlike support for abortion, euthanasia, etc.

And my guess is that this is all a red herring on your part anyway. I would bet a week's pay that you give the Church's teachings about abortion, euthanasia, etc. as much credence as you do Rick Perry's. You are just looking for a wedge where none exists.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 4, 2011 11:54:39 AM

It is not a red herring at all.

What drew me to this board was the Willingham case, which just screams miscarriage of justice. Religion is a secondary consideration and is not required to see the injustices in the Willingham case.

The state arson investigators were jokes when it came to arson science, Willingham's court appointed lawyers believed he was guilty and put up a token defense with just one defense witness and the police coerced witnesses to lie to incriminate Willingham.

I find self-proclaimed devout Christians, like Gov. Perry, to be mostly hypocrites more interested in lining their pockets and the pockets of their campaign donors rather than doing their job well.

Perry's job includes considering if death row inmates, like Willingham, were improperly convicted. Perry seemed to completely ignore the expert report that there was no actual evidence of arson in the Willingham fire. Then he fired 3 members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission who were about to report on their investigation of the Willingham case. Many interpret Perry's actions as a coverup.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 4, 2011 2:47:03 PM

Tim stated: "It is not a red herring at all."

Of course it is. You could care less about the Church's teaching, biblical teaching, etc. as it relates to the DP. As I stated, you care only about using your incorrect interpretations as a bludgeon against Christians.

Tim stated: "I find self-proclaimed devout Christians, like Gov. Perry, to be mostly hypocrites more interested in lining their pockets and the pockets of their campaign donors rather than doing their job well."

It is not hypocritical to be a Christian and pro-DP.

Also, I would love to see your evidence that Perry supports the DP in order to "line [his] pockets and the pockets of [his] campaign donors."

Tim stated: "Many interpret Perry's actions as a coverup."

Ah, yes. The infamous "many." I am also quite certain that "many" do not interpret his actions as a coverup. Do you have any evidence that your "many" should trump my "many?"

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 4, 2011 3:44:52 PM

TarlsQtr --

"Many" believe that there are earth is visited by aliens, that the country can keep right on spending, and that Bill Clinton has no eye for women.

OK, nobody believes the latter, but I'll stick with the first two.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 4, 2011 5:02:24 PM

The problem is that the so called Judicial System of this country no longer operates on the "Innocent until proven Guilty". It is "Guilty until proven Innocent."
Once Willingham was charged he was deemed to be guilty by everyone including his defense attorneys.

Posted by: Obvious | Sep 4, 2011 5:36:46 PM

Obvious --

"The problem is that the so called Judicial System of this country no longer operates on the 'Innocent until proven Guilty'. It is 'Guilty until proven Innocent.'"

Be sure to tell that to the lovely Ms. Casey Anthony.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 5, 2011 7:13:52 AM

TarlsQtr --

How is my interpretation of Christian views on the DP, a bludgeon against Christians? That makes no sense. I applaud Christians,including the pope and the GOP governor of Illinois, who oppose the DP. Even on this board there are different interpretations of what the Bible actually means when it says "Thou shalt not kill."

It is not necessarily hypocritical to be pro-DP and a Christian. Perry and politicians like him are hypocritical because of their crony capitalism when arguing for smaller government. Even Sarah Palin uses that term to criticize her fellow GOPers.

I didn't say Perry supports the DP to line his pockets. He may have a personal belief in the DP or he may do it more to have a tough on criminals stance that sells well politically in Texas. I doubt Perry took the time to do his job and closely review the Willingham case because it wasn't a high priority for him.

If one of Perry's big campaign donors had asked him to review the case, I bet he would have given Willingham a 30 day stay.

Perry has repeatedly called for more transparency in government but has gone out of his way to avoid releasing any details on how he handled the Willingham case. He also dismissed 3 members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission right before they were to discuss a report on the Willingham case from an arson expert.

That smacks of a coverup. Governor Bush released his records on death row inmates.

PBS has copies of many of the original documents on the Willingham case as well as a Frontline documentary.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-by-fire/

Posted by: Tim | Sep 5, 2011 8:57:37 AM

The actual provision in the Bible translates as "thou shall not murder." The Bible lists various capital crimes, so citing the commandment to mean the death penalty is wrong is mighty selective. It requires some interpretation to get you that far.

The excerpt reminds that the governor has a weaker role than in other states, but "Perry’s abdication of executive review" etc. underlines that the position has SOME role, so -- especially given that the much greater execution rate makes even a limited role much more important than some state with a handful of executions -- there is blame to be placed.

The governor, as one person said, also shouldn't get to play both sides of the street -- get political points for being gung ho about the DP but then say he has no real influence over its application.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 5, 2011 10:38:57 AM

Joe --

While the Texas governor apparently cannot pardon someone on his own, he does seem to hold most of the power to grant pardons.

The governor makes the final decision on whether to grant clemency but only after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP) recommends clemency. The governor also appoints the members of the TBPP.

In DP cases, the governor can issue a 30 day stay to give more time for the TBPP to review the case and use his position to lobby the TBPP privately and/or publicly.

If Perry had issued a stay in the Willingham case and asked the TBPP to recommend a pardon or commute the DP to a life sentence, it seems very likely the TBPP would have done what the governor requested.

It is amazing the kind of trivial pardons governor Perry issues, such as a 31 year old pardoned for resisting arrest at age 19 and a 52 year old who stole a car at age 18. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/14067/

Yet, Perry couldn't be bothered to issue a 30 day stay in a DP case to give time for the TBPP to carefully consider the last minute report from a leading arson expert that completely shredded the prosecution's case that the fire was an arson.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 5, 2011 11:13:19 AM

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