News 02.01.10

Texas Forensics Panel to Discuss Willingham Case at Next Meeting

The Texas Forensic Science Commission met Friday for the first time in six months, but the meeting focused on committee procedure and the controversial case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004, was not discussed.

Commission Chairman John Bradley committed, however, to discussing the case at the committee’s next meeting, set for April 23 in El Paso.

"Yes, they will be on the agenda. Yes, they will be discussed," Bradley said, referring to open cases under review.

Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom, who attended the meeting, noted that Bradley attempted to develop new procedures that would have given him more power, but members of the commission insisted that the new rules clearly call for consent and approval from the group:

"The rules Mr. Bradley proposed create needless bureaucracy, steer the commission away from the Legislature's intent, limit the commissioners' authority and vest more power in him as the chair," Saloom

told the Associated Press

.

And Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey

wrote today

about Bradley’s decision to bar a documentary film crew from the meeting room, which was reversed 90 minutes after the meeting began:

Bradley evicted an Austin-based documentary crew before the meeting started. One of its members called the attorney general's office in Austin, which sent a message to Barbara Dean, the assistant district attorney who has attended all of the commission's meetings, providing legal guidance since its inception.

An hour and a half into the meeting, Dean, seated behind Bradley, tapped him on the shoulder and quietly spoke into his ear. He announced a 10-minute break, and when the meeting resumed the film crew was in the room.


Read more about Friday’s meeting:

Associated Press:

Texas Panel Meets, Skips Talk of Willingham Case

The Monitor: 

Forensics Panel Dodges Discussion of Controversial Execution

Rick Casey in the Houston Chronicle:

The Revolt of the Scientists

 

Grits for Breakfast:

Live Blog of the Meeting

 

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