[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- TEXAS
j_sommer at gmx.net
Fri Nov 19 09:31:11 CST 2004
death penalty news
November 19, 2004
Supreme Court right about Texas death penalty
Gov. Rick Perry should call a moratorium on the death penalty. It needs a
lot of work.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week criticized the Texas judicial system for
failing to ensure that a citizen was given a fair trial. That's a serious
judgment in a capital case.
But there's little evidence state leaders are taking the constructive
criticism seriously. This is the third blistering critique from the
nation's highest court in the past year.
The Texas judicial system handled 37 percent of the death sentences in this
country last year. And it's not very good at it.
The Supreme Court has complained repeatedly that the state doesn't have a
coherent policy about executing people who were under 18 when they
committed their crimes.
It's complained that it doesn't take into account mental retardation in
The Supreme Court has asked pointed questions about whether the state
allows racial bias to play a role in deciding who gets sentenced to death.
And, of course, Texas has had notorious problems with some of its crime
labs. You have to wonder about the evidence that came from those labs.
Far too often in Texas, the question of who lives or dies has more to do
with money than with justice. Those who can afford to pay for a spectacular
defense that stupefies jurors often get what they pay for. Poor defendants
who can't afford a decent defense often get what they pay for.
Many people face life and death situations every day. Soldiers train with
live ammunition. Surgeons hold hearts in their hands.
But these people are very, very serious. And they work under a system that
is as good as it can be.
You can't say that about the way the Texas judicial system handles capital
cases. No one's been able to say that for a long time.
(source: (Galveston) Daily News)
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