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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Texas man was executed on repudiated arson findings

AP Wire | 12/09/2004 | Chicago Tribune: Texas man was executed on repudiated arson findings

Good 'ol Texas. By God, once they've made their minds up, facts should not interfere. George W. learned his lessons well there. It seems to me that "justice" is not the simple process of the law, it should be the accurate enforcement of the law. It also seems to me that if the state willfully ignores exculpatory evidence and puts someone to death then the state and its agents should be tried for murder.

This is not the first instance of Texas enjoying capital punishment. Harry Blackmun, in his stinging dissent in 1994 when the Supreme Court refused to review a Texas (again!) death penalty case, (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/angel/procon/deathissue.html) argued that our experiment with the death penalty has failed, a lesson most civilized countries learned years ago.

To quote:

"From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored...to develop...rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor...Rather than continue to coddle the court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved...I feel...obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed. It is virtually self-evident to me now that no combination of procedural rules or substantive regulations ever can save the death penalty from its inherent constitutional deficiencies... Perhaps one day this court will develop procedural rules or verbal formulas that actually will provide consistency, fairness and reliability in a capital-sentencing scheme. I am not optimistic that such a day will come. I am more optimistic, though, that this court eventually will conclude that the effort to eliminate arbitrariness while preserving fairness 'in the infliction of [death] is so plainly doomed to failure that it and the death penalty must be abandoned altogether.' (Godfrey v. Georgia, 1980) I may not live to see that day, but I have faith that eventually it will arrive. The path the court has chosen lessen us all."
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