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October 30, 2011

Another Texas execution and still another Texas pre-execution innocence debate

While I was on the road the last few days, two notable Texas death penalty stories made these headlines:

I cannot help but speculate about how Texas Governor Rick Perry's recent drop in the GOP presidential polls might impact how he responds in the days ahead to the request for DNA testing by death row inmate Hank Skinner, who is now scheduled to be executed on November 9 for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend and her two sons.  I suspect an effort by Perry to enable DNA testing might get him lots of good (liberal?) media attention, but that will not obviously help his cause (and could even hurt him) in the minds of GOP primary voters.

I think if Gov. Perry was slick and politically shrewd, he might try to make the Skinner case a topic of considerable attention in an effort to force his rivals like Mitt Romney and Herman Cain to speak on the death penalty.  Gov. Perry has a record on death penalty issues that, when considered in total, should warm the hearts of most GOP voters, while Romney and Cain might make some political blunders if forced to talk about these kinds of issues at some length.

October 30, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Permalink


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This guy had the chance to get DNA testing at trial. He did not. Unfortunately, that nuance is highly unlikely to come out in the press, and so Perry will be demonized.

What is interesting to me, from a constitutional standpoint, is whether the timing of a state's DNA test offer is relevant. It would seem to me that, as far as the constitution is concerned, that one offer is good enough, and that the state is not required to make subsequent offers.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 30, 2011 12:48:49 PM

Texas man jailed 25 years for murder is exonerated
October 12, 2011

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday declared Michael Morton innocent of killing his wife, Christine, according to Paul Cates, a spokesman for the New York-based Innocence Project, which represented Morton in appealing his conviction. The ruling makes Morton eligible to receive $80,000 from the state for each year he was wrongfully imprisoned, about $2 million total.

Posted by: George | Oct 30, 2011 9:34:17 PM

First to mention Ricky Ray Rector...

also, which prosecutors are asking for DNA testing, and which are opposing it? poor drafting/editing, AP wire service.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 31, 2011 3:28:54 PM

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