Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Bush Execution Fail

It looks like Texas killed the wrong guy again.  Hair evidence that was used to convict Claude Jones of murder was proven through DNA testing to not be his own.  Jones requested a stay of execution before his December 2000 execution, but was denied by then Governor George Bush.  Jones was the last of over 130 executed under Bush's reign as governor, far more than any state over that same 5 year stretch. 

Bush's execution record regularly comes under criticism, and rightly so.  In this article written in June of 2000, it's pointed out that in one-third of all death penalty cases heard during Bush's stretch as governor, "the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.
In 29 cases, the prosecution used testimony from a psychiatrist who -- based on a hypothetical question about the defendant's past -- predicted he would commit future violence. Most of those psychiatrists testified without having examined the defendant: a practice condemned professionally as unethical.
Other witnesses included one who was temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, a pathologist who had admitted faking autopsies and a judge who had been reprimanded for lying about his credentials."

It's not just Bush who's slipped up in Texas. has estimated that Texas has executed roughly 54 innocent people since 1976.  Only 2.4% of death row convicts have been exonerated in Texas, compared to 14.1% of the rest of the nation.

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