News 10.20.09

Controversy Widens in Texas Case

The Cameron Todd Willingham case continues to draw attention in Texas and around the world, with a former Texas governor and the original prosecutor in the Willingham case both questioning the reliability of the state’s death penalty, and opinion leaders urging a full investigation of the case.

As regular readers know, Willingham was executed in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three young children, despite evidence of his innocence.

Read the full details of the case here

.

On Sunday, former Texas Gov. Mark White cited the Willingham case and

told two Texas newspapers

that “there is a very strong case to be made for a review of our death penalty statutes and even look at the possibility of having life without parole so we don’t look up one day and determine that we as the State of Texas have executed someone who is in fact innocent.”

And John Jackson, the original prosecutor in the case and now a state judge,

told the Austin American-Statesman

recently that he wonders if Texas has "appropriate means of last-minute review of newly discovered evidence."

"The way things are done in Texas, I'm not completely certain that all last-minute requests for either clemency or stay of execution get the scrutiny they deserve," Jackson said.

More coverage of the case this week:

Chicago Tribune:

Statements by Gov. Rick Perry and Others Don’t Align with Facts

New York Times:

Controversy Builds in Texas Over an Execution

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