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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unbending

no-wind-20121124_101550.jpg

No wind.

About 12 years ago Governor George Ryan put a moratorium on executions in Illinois. It was a bold move because someone in power was admitting that there were problems with the system.

Shortly after that, I was reading an interview where someone high up in Texas law enforcement was asked a question about similar problems with the death penalty in Texas. I don't remember the exact question, but I do remember the answer. "Texas doesn't make mistakes." Even when pressed, the person would not move from that position. I remember thinking at the time, there are problems, you just can't bring yourself to admit them. I never forgot that.

As I was reading Texas Monthly's "The Innocent Man," those words kept coming back to me. "Texas doesn't make mistakes." This is the story of a man who was accused, prosecuted, convicted, and spent nearly 25 years of a 30 year sentence for the murder of his wife. Even when the prosecution was later presented with scientific evidence of the man's innocence, they refused to admit to any mistakes. In fact, mistakes were made, not the least of which was failure to turn over reports to the defense at trial that would have created doubt in the jury's mind. Even though this was not a death penalty case, it could have been.

Posted by Marie at November 25, 2012 8:45 PM