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March 21, 2007

Will Texas execute a woman next month?

The Death Penalty Information Center now has new coverage on its homepage of the case of Cathy Henderson who "is scheduled to be executed in Texas on April 18 for the 1994 murder of Brandon Baugh, an infant she was babysitting."   As detailed here and in this television segment, since her arrest "Henderson has maintained that the child's death was accidental."  Henderson claims that she dropped the baby, fracturing his skull, and then panicked and fled (after burying the body).

As noted here, Texas is the one state still in the execution business these days.  (DPIC details here that 9 of the 10 US executions in 2007 have been in Texas.)  But Henderson does have a clemency petition pending, and her intriguing "partial innocence" claim might provide a basis for some executive sympathy.  More generally, as DPIC covers here, only 11 of 1067 executed persons in the modern capital era have been women (and I believe most of the executed women committed crimes arguably more heinous than Henderson).

Especially at a time when so many outside of Texas are questioning the death penalty, it will be very interesting to see how much and what kind of attention Henderson's case gets as her execution approaches.

March 21, 2007 at 06:29 PM | Permalink


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Tracked on Mar 21, 2007 10:29:38 PM


I suspect Ms. Henderson's chances for clemency are pretty close to zero.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 21, 2007 7:46:22 PM

...make that 0.000%

Posted by: Jamie | Mar 22, 2007 7:41:26 AM

and rightfully so, her claims of innocence stink

Posted by: | Mar 22, 2007 9:33:25 AM

"...and rightfully so, her claims of innocence stink"

Stinking claims or not, as long as it can't be ruled out, the sentence is wrong.

Posted by: Count Iblis | Mar 22, 2007 8:26:33 PM

a Texas jury did that

Posted by: | Mar 22, 2007 11:36:29 PM

"a Texas jury did that"

Didn't Texan juries also rule out a reasonable possibility of innocence of defendants who were later proved to be innocent using DNA? If this were just a few cases one could argue that this is statistically possible. But i.m.o. there are too many, more than 100 in the US.

One could perhaps argue that there was prosecutorial miscounduct or other problems in the original trial. But that is something that should be corrected in the appeals process. If you have more than 100 people who had exhausted all appeals and were still proven to be innocent using DNA, then something serious is wrong with the legal system.

Posted by: Count Iblis | Mar 23, 2007 1:21:18 PM

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