Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frank Moore Executed in Texas

"Self defense is not capital murder," were his last words before the lethal injection took his life. CNN reports on the case of Frank Moore, who never denied having shot and killed two young men outside a San Antonio bar exactly fifteen years ago.

Samuel Boyd and Patrick Clark were shot multiple times in the head and chest early in the morning of January 21, 1994, outside the Wheels of Joy bar.

"They came with intentions to kill me," Moore said in the interview. "It was a do-or-die situation."

The story is that initially no witnesses came forward to support Moore's claim. The prosecutors said he was a long-time gang member, with a lengthy criminal past who shot the two men in cold blood. The jury believed it and sentenced him to death.

A procedural error was found, specifically that the jury had not been given the option to convict him of a lesser charge. The conviction was overturned; he was retried properly, convicted again and sentenced to death again. Seven years later things started to happen.

But it was not until 2006 that a private investigator, who once worked against Moore and his fellow gangsters, came forward with information that Moore said corroborated his self-defense claims.

Warren Huel, a retired Navy Seal who was in charge of the private security firm that oversaw the projects, was the first peace officer on the scene, arriving about 45 minutes before the San Antonio Police Department, according to an affidavit.

During that time, Huel said he spoke with witnesses who reported that Boyd and Clark shot at Moore first from inside the car after trying to run him over, according to the affidavit.

Other witnesses began coming forward, reporting that weapons had been removed from the victims' car, which perfectly supported Moore's story. When Warren Huel tried to introduce this information to the proper authorities, he was met with a sadly typical response.
"I was told that did not matter, as they already had Frank Moore, the murder weapon and an eyewitness," Huel stated in his affidavit. "I was told Moore was a dope dealer and had to go to jail."

Is this another Bush legacy? Does this type of "Texas justice" date from the time when George W. Bush was governor of Texas and set execution records? Or does this mentality of harshly sentencing criminals, even violating their rights to do so, predate the Bush gubernatorial stint? Does it transcend even Texas? I've often seen films and novels attribute to cops a hardened attitude towards criminals which says, "If he didn't do this crime, we know he did others."

What's your opinion? Do you think that's what happened to Frank Moore? Is that OK with you?


  1. Mike,

    You normally don't suffer from "Bush Derangement Syndrome", this is ridiculous.

    It was a local case, tried by the local courts, with prosecutors elected or appointed locally in San Antonio.....and you want to involve Bush, why?

    Where was Moore's rights violated?
    Can you show who removed the weapons? Have any evidence to support your wild claims?

  2. I don't think it likely that he would be innocent, but convicted twice. The overturned conviction wasn't over innocence or guilt, but rather the specific variety of murder he was guilty of. I'd be happier with life in prison without parole, but based on what little I know of this case, I'm not upset with the death penalty.

    At what point do you quit giving a criminal more chances to overturn his sentence? I think 15 years is plenty.

  3. Bob, I want to involve Bush for exactly the reason I said. During his tenure as governor, he set execution records, did he not? Many of those executed had improper representation, were underage when they did the crime and some were even mentally retarded. That's a helluva legacy, which I'm suggesting may still be having its effects. The case of Frank Moore seemed to have some of the normal requisites for being stayed or actually overturned. But it wasn't. My question is why.

    Sevesteen said, "I don't think it likely that he would be innocent, but convicted twice." You have more faith in the system than I do.

  4. Mike,

    You've got it backwards....The State of Texas, while Bush was Governor, set records for executions.

    Again, it wasn't Bush trying the case, prosecuting the cases, being the jury in the cases, hearing the appeals in the cases. Bush was simply Governor.

    Many of those "choir boys" you defend so vehemently had been on death row for years. Most of them were tried and convicted prior to Bush being elected.

    So, the day before someone turns 18 (s)he commits a capital offense and we shouldn't execute them...but the day after they turn 18, suddenly they are different?

    When does each person reach the age of reason Mike? It varies, that is why the prosecutor looks at the know the crime, the nature of the horrendous act, the level of culpability and ask for the criminal to be tried as an adult.

    Your definition of mentally ill is too broad, in my opinion. Just because someone might have diminished capacity doesn't mean they still don't know right from wrong. If they know that killing, rape, any number of crimes are wrong and still do them...isn't that enough capacity?
    The Courts and the PEOPLE hearing the case obviously thought so...guess it is easy to monday morning quarterback when you don't have to look at the crime photos, eh?

    I'm not sure, but I was say that he had 2 trials and many more hearings. There would be the Court of Appeals, the State Supreme Court, the Federal District Court of Appeals, and possibly the Supreme Court. That's 4? Out of 4 different hearings the lawyers couldn't convince the judges of wrong doing, that he shouldn't have a chance to present new evidence. Most of the judges are very reluctant NOT to grant new trials, so I agree with Sevesteen.

  5. Bob, I want to thank you for that information about former-Governor Bush and the death penalty in Texas. It's stuff I should have realized myself, but I admit I've been swept up in the Bush bashing a little bit, which I don't like and I'm not proud of. I feel I could still fault him for not doing anything while Governor to stop the excess that went on, but as you very rightly pointed out, it wasn't his doing.

  6. Thanks Mike,

    It is one of the things I dislike about America...the tendency to blame everything on one person and forget about the bureaucracy that goes with the government.

    I didn't like it when everyone blamed Clinton, didn't like Bush being blamed and will stand up for Obama under the same situation.

    Thanks for keeping an open mind.

  7. I was sorry that Bush didn't pardon that girl --carla faye tucker (?)

    She was definitley rehabilitated --but was executed when he was gov. despite much media and public sympathy for her. He said he just didn't feel it was his role to interfere with the justice system after their evaluations/judgments, etc.

    He also didn't pardon anyone as pres. --I'm disappointed at that because it seems there would surely be some that deserved mercy which he had the power to give. I wish he had pardoned Libby so he could work again as a lawyer. Libby is supposed to have merely stated that Valerie Plame was formerly a secret agent --and said it to the wrong ears --the media. What's with that anyway? The whole incident didn't help the administration's cause if it were an intentional leak to media.

    Carville's wife, can't think of her name, a republican on bush's team, has been trying to raise money to help scooter through direct mail. Now Cheney supposedly wanted him pardoned --but one theory is that he is just saying that so Libby won't turn against him in a book. It would have helped if he had really gotten the pardon ---to not write a book --now he WILL write one --to make money since he can't practice law. Seems Bush could have pardoned him on condition that he not write a book??? if they had anything to fear.

    I read about that Plame situation and never did understand it.

    But haven't I read on this blog, that Texas has less crime than the states that are softer on crime?

    I would rather see life imprisonment than capital punishment, I guess, except in those really heinous, clear-cut, malicious crimes --where there is no doubt of guilt.

    One wonders, could witnesses come forward who are frauds many years after an event? who either don't want him to die, or who are paid?

  8. I heard it on tv that Bush didn't pardon anyone --not so. I read where he pardoned or commuted sentences for at least 150 plus --but half as many as Clinton--and none on the final day (which is what i probably heard on tv.)