Saturday, October 31, 2009
Texas Bad Man
"Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday defended his actions in the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham [CTW], calling him a 'monster' and a 'bad man' who murdered his children. Perry has been embroiled in a national firestorm over whether he has tried to block an investigation into the quality of the forensic scinece that led to Willingham's conviction in the 1991 arson deaths of his three children and his 2004 executuion. ... 'This is a bad man. This is a guy who in the death chamber in his last breath spews an obscenity-laced triad (sic) against his wife,' Perry said. ... [Sam] Bassett has said he felt pressured by Perry's staff to back off of the investigation and was told that a scientific report on the house fire that killed the children was not worth the state's expense. ... Perry's GOP rival in next spring's gubernatorial primary, US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, said the debate should not be about 'one man or one case' but about Perry politicizing the forensics commission. She said Perry has created a 'cloud of controversy' that looks like a cover-up. 'The only thing Rick Perry's action have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty,' said Hutchinson, a death penalty supporter. ... Willingham's first lawyer, David Martin of Waco, told the Houston Chronicle in August that Willingham was a 'textbook psychopath'," RG Ratliffe at the Houston Chronicle, 15 October 2009, link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/6667460.html.
"Yes, by most accounts, [CTW] was a 'bad man,' as Gov. Rick Perry declared Wednesday to reporters. But being a bad man isn't a crime punishable by death, even in Texas. ... The state's expert found no evidence that the fire was arson. ... The new chairman promptly canceled the public hearing, saying he needed time to study the case. ... But the story isn't just about [CTW] anymore. It isn't about guilt or innocence. ... It's about whether Perry is purposefully trying to subvert the law in [CTW's] case, and potentially obstruct justice in countless other arson cases that could benefit from the commission's review, all for political gain during a hotly contested primary. ... And the case looks clearer every day. ... The [CTW] investigation may have been prompted by a complaint by the New York-based Innocence Project, but it was never concerned with determining [CTW's] guilt or innocence. ... The probe was only concerned with the validity of the forensic science in [CTW's] case, and, eventually, how many other arson investigations may have been conducted in the same way. ... So, whether or not [CTW] was a bad man, or even a 'monster,' as Perry also called him, is immaterial to the chief question being asked of the governor: What's his problem with a science commission that investigates science?," my emphasis, Lisa Falkenberg at the Houston Chronicle, 15 October 2009, link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/falkenberg/6668380.html.
I agree with Hutchinson. Even if CTW was all Perry claims, that does not make CTW a murderer. If Texas did not prove the threshhold question: did an arson occur, there was no crime.
Not even in Texas? I'm crushed. I suspect Perry knows much expert testimony used by DAs stinks. OJ is a bad man and Marcia Clark and Chris Darden (C&D) spent months proving it. So? The OJ jury was not impressed by the C&D case. Neither was I.