Saturday, July 30, 2011
Texas AG Covers Up Execution Of Innocent
Since then, numerous highly respected national fire and arson experts have examined the evidence. The conclusion they have reached is that Willingham was convicted on worthless "junk" science and false conclusions. In fact, most of these experts don't believe the fire was arson at all -- but an accidental fire. In other words, Texas executed an innocent man.
A couple of years ago the Texas Forensics Commission decided to review the conviction and hear from the best experts available. There was nothing they could do for Willingham, but maybe they could examine the evidence and prevent this from happening again. But Rick Perry was having none of it. He wasn't about to let an official state agency find that Texas had executed an innocent person and he refused to stop it. That sort of thing could hurt his political career.
So about two weeks before the Commission was to meet and investigate the case, Perry replaced the head of the Commission. The new chairman delayed the hearing on the case and requested a ruling from the Attorney General (Greg Abbott) that would stop the investigation. When the new chairman appointed by Perry was not confirmed by the legislature, Dr. Peerwani (Tarrant County Medical Examiner) was appointed to replace him.
But Dr. Peerwani is a truth-seeker (as his job demands), so the investigation into the spurious conviction was again put on the Commission's schedule. And once again it got close to the truth coming out, and then Austin intervened. This time it was Attorney General Abbott who made a strange ruling. He said the law would permit the Commission to re-examine the case, but they could not re-examine the evidence. What good is re-examining the case going to do if the evidence can't be looked at. It was a misuse and misunderstanding of the evidence that resulted in the conviction!
This is nothing more than the Attorney General covering his own butt (and that of the governor). Both of these Republicans have a keen hankering to go a lot higher in elective politics (and Perry wants to even run for President). Neither of them want it on their record officially that they let an innocent man be executed. Even the most blood-thirsty voter doesn't want innocent people executed.
But this is Texas. We kill people. And if we kill the wrong people we can count on our state Republican leaders to cover it up. That's just the way it is.