News 12.06.10

Texas Death Penalty Hearing Starts Today

A Houston judge began hearing evidence today on whether the risk of executing an innocent person renders the death penalty unconstitutional in Texas. And later this week, Innocence Project attorneys will join the hearing to present evidence on two wrongful executions in the state.

Attorneys for John Edward Green are arguing this week that their client, who is charged with committing a murder during a 2008 Houston robbery, should not be subject to the death penalty because it carries an unconstitutional risk of executing an innocent person. Innocence Project attorneys will call experts and offer evidence in the wrongful execution cases of

Claude Jones

(in 2000) and

Cameron Todd Willingham

(in 2004).

This is the first time in Texas history a court will examine the substantial risk of wrongful convictions in a Texas capital trial.

An article in TIME magazine today

called the case “a new forum for old wars.” The Texas Defenders, who are serving as Green’s lead counsel, published last week a list of

six reasons

they believe the death penalty to be unconstitutional as applied in Texas. The list includes

several key causes of wrongful conviction

.

Read more coverage of this week’s landmark hearing:

Wall Street Journal:

A Texas Case Puts the Death Penalty on Trial

Houston Chronicle:

Stage is Set for Review of Death Penalty

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