Thursday, November 3, 2011

Texas Violates Civil Rights (Allegedly)

The violation of federal civil rights bit is at the end.  Because they think executions are a good form of revenge disguised as Justice in Texas - whether the person is guilty or not.  Ah, those pesky details of guilt and innocence, they just aren't allowed to get in the way, are they, in Texas?
From and the AP:Judge denies DNA tests before Texas execution
updated 1 hour 7 minutes ago

A judge has denied a Texas death row inmate's request for testing of DNA evidence his attorneys say could prove his innocence, less than a week before the man is set to be executed.
Hank Skinner, 49, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the 1993 deaths of his girlfriend and her two sons. Skinner's attorneys had asked for testing of DNA evidence that was not tested before his 1995 trial.
But Judge Steven R. Emmert denied Skinner's request in a brief order issued Wednesday and made public Thursday. The order did not explain the judge's decision.
Skinner's attorneys say they plan to appeal the decision to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
"The stakes in this case are too high to allow Mr. Skinner to be executed before he has a fair chance to make his case that the trial court made a grave mistake in denying his request for DNA testing," said Robert Owen, an attorney for Skinner.
A spokesman for the Texas Attorney General's Office, which is handling appeals in the case for prosecutors, said his office was reviewing whether it would have any comment on the judge's ruling.
Prosecutors have called the DNA testing request merely an attempt by Skinner to delay his execution.
Skinner was sentenced to death for the 1993 deaths of his girlfriend, 40-year-old Twila Busby, and her sons Elwin "Scooter" Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20. The victims were strangled, beaten or stabbed on New Year's Eve at their home in Pampa in the Texas Panhandle.
Skinner also has filed a federal lawsuit claiming Texas violated his civil rights by withholding access to the evidence. That lawsuit is pending.


  1. I'm all for exhausting every conceivable avenue of justice for someone condemned to death. However, if this sort of claim is not a delay tactic as the prosecution claimed, why do they always wait until the sentence is eminent to file? What happened this week to suggest that DNA evidence could prove him not guilty? Why was such a claim not filed last year or at least months ago in time to get a result before execution? Sounds like a delay tactic to me, just as the prosecution claimed. I would still a stay until the DNA claim could be sorted out though.

  2. FWM wrote something very astute:

    "why do they always wait until the sentence is eminent to file? "

    They didn't 'just file', they have been fighting this through various procedural requirements well before the last minute.

    Ditto filing that law suit for violation of his civil rights.

    It is beause the deadline is coming up with such last minute court decisions, leaving little or no time for further appeal that is the problem.

    My impression is that this is a very highly questionable conviction that Texas appears to be fighting because they dislike reversing death sentences, giving that more importance than real justice.

    I suspect the reason comes down to it makes them look bad when they start reversing death sentence convictions; ruins their idea that they aren't executing innocent people on a regular basis. They seem to be way too comfortable after the fact when innocence is proven; THAT they seem to shrug off as 'oh, well, ancient history, nothing we can do now'.