News 03.02.11

Texas Senators Delay Confirmation of FSC Chairman

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst informed reporters yesterday that John Bradley’s nomination hearing to remain chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission has been delayed.

The Houston Chronicle reported that if Bradley is confirmed by the Senate, he would serve the rest of his term, which ends in September.

What is typically a routine confirmation hearing has turned into a debacle after Bradley and Sen. Rodney Ellis came to blows about the commission’s handling of the Cameron Todd Willingham investigation under Bradley’s leadership. Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three young daughters 13 years earlier. He went to his death proclaiming his innocence.

Ever since October 2009, when Gov. Rick Perry replaced Commission Chairman Sam Bassett with John Bradley, the Willingham investigation has stalled.

“He’s turned it into a bureaucracy,” said Stephen Saloom, policy director for the Innocence Project, who said he has been to every meeting of the commission since Bradley took over. “Since he became chairman, John Bradley has done everything in his power to prevent or delay the commission from completing one single investigation.”


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