More on Rick Perry’s bloody hands

Gov. Perry signed the death warrant of a man he could have known was convicted on bogus testimony, then fired the chair of the commission investigating the case. In the meantime, his aides were putting pressure on the chairman.

… from the Chicago Tribune, which has been all over the story:

Just months before the controversial removal of three members of a state commission investigating the forensics that led to a Texas man’s 2004 execution, top aides to Gov. Rick Perry tried to pressure the chairman of the panel over the direction of the inquiry, the chairman has told the Tribune.

Samuel Bassett, whom Perry replaced on the Texas Forensic Science Commission two weeks ago, said he twice was called to meetings with Perry’s top attorneys. At one of those meetings, Bassett said he was told they were unhappy with the course of the commission’s investigation.

“I was surprised that they were involving themselves in the commission’s decision-making,” Bassett said. “I did feel some pressure from them, yes. There’s no question about that.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

6 thoughts on “More on Rick Perry’s bloody hands”

  1. The Tribune has done an amazing job of covering death-penalty issues for years (and, if there is a god, god alone knows why) (and they have won some Pulitzers, including investigative reporting and editorial writing). Their work has even affected public policy in Illinois, as former governor George Ryan halted all executions until every case could be reviewed. But the light they are currently shining on the swamp that is Texas's application of death sentences should, and I hope will, lead to reconsideration nationwide.

  2. Off topic, Mark, but could you nudge your publisher to put "When Brute Force Fails" on Kindle. Everyone I know is has read it or is reading it and I am sadly left behind.

  3. karlos: That doesn't work for me as I need to be able to control font size to read it.

  4. Perry today (14 Oct) responded to criticism of his conduct by calling Willingham a 'monster,' the evidence being, among other things, that he used some very bad words as he was dying. Perhaps we've judged the Governor too harshly.

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