News 11.13.09

Friday Roundup: An Arson Case Keeps the Spotlight

On Tuesday, Texas Senators questioned John Bradley, the new chairman of the state Forensic Science Commission. We reported on the hearing here. Bradley said the commission would eventually continue its investigation into the arson science used to convict Willingham, who was executed in 2004, but warned that the investigation

could stretch into 2011

. One state Senator said the commission

could emerge stronger

from the attention it has received through this process.

A column by Rick Casey in the Chronicle

questioned whether Bradley, a prosecutor, is the right person to lead an inquiry into scientific practices

.

In an editorial yesterday,

the Fort Worth Star-Telegram criticized Gov. Rick Perry

for refusing to hand over the clemency report in Willingham’s case in response to a Houston Chronicle request. The Chronicle is suing the state for access to the document.

In other news, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled this week that Greg Wilhoit, who spent four years on Oklahoma’s death row before he was acquitted on retrial,

has a viable legal claim against the state for his wrongful conviction

.

An op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News by Kathleen Ridolfi and Maurice Possley of the Northern California Innocence Project points to

prosecutorial misconduct’s high cost to taxpayers

.

Brian Dugan was

sentenced to death in Illinois this week

for the murder of a 10-year-old girl in 1983 — a crime for which two innocent men — Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez — spent 12 years each on death row. Read more and watch a video interview with Cruz.

Lawyers in Wisconsin are

seeking a new trial

for Reynold Moore, who was convicted in 1995 with five other men for allegedly committing a 1992 murder. A new book about the case — “

The Monfils Conspiracy

” is available here.

Death row exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth

spoke this wee

k at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota.

North Carolina exoneree Ronald Cotton and crime victim Jennifer Thompson-Cannino

will speak November 18 at Vanderbilt University

.

A

new searchable Supreme Court database

offers information and analysis on the court’s rulings since 1953.

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