News 11.18.09

CSI: Texas

The controversy over the work of the Texas Forensic Science Commission is continuing after the panel's new chairman testified before a state Senate committee last week, and a new editorial in the Houston Chronicle calls on the commission to prioritize facts over politics.

John Bradley, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as the panel's new chairman two days before the group was set to hear from an arson expert in the case, told Senators last week that the commission's review of the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case might stretch into 2011 or beyond. In his testimony, he questioned the motives of the Innocence Project and others in focusing on faulty forensics in the state.

At a press conference after the hearing, Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck said the Innocence Project wants to ensure that faulty forensics aren't contributing to injustice in the state. "We brought this allegation for one reason," Scheck said. "We are concerned that there may be innocent people in prison in Texas based on unreliable science."

An editorial in the Houston Chronicle questions whether Perry and Bradley are stalling the commission's work for political reasons and attacking the Innocence Project and individuals involved in the process to divert attention from the task at hand:

It doesn't take a crack CSI sleuth like the characters played by Laurence Fishburne and Marg Helgenberger to smell some foul politics emanating from the governor's office and the new leadership at the Texas Forensic Science Commission. By attacking the very people and groups that have devoted their efforts to spotlighting wrongful convictions and freeing the innocent, Chairman Bradley has certainly not allayed suspicions that his first priority in his new post is protecting the man who appointed him rather than those unjustly convicted of crimes.


Read the full editorial here

. (Houston Chronicle, 11/17/09)

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