Rick Perry

“If I’m innocent, I go home. If I’m guilty, I die. What’s so hard about that?” So says Hank Skinner, a Texas inmate who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday. He maintains that he is innocent, untested DNA evidence might exonerate him, but officials in Texas are fighting his request for DNA testing. Why are don’t they want to test the evidence? Let’s ask them: [Gray County District Attorney Lynn] Switzer’s office refused comment on the case to CNN on Thursday. [Governor Rick] Perry’s office referred questions to the attorney general’s office, which also denied comment. In court, “Texas state attorneys argued … that the testing should not be conducted because there was not a reasonable probability the trial jury would have found Skinner innocent if the testing had been done for his trial.” In other words, if DNA testing put someone else at the scene of the crime, as Skinner has maintained for years, these attorneys believe that the jury would still have found him guilty of the murders and sentenced him to death. Why would they have done that? A female friend of Skinner’s who lived four blocks away testified at his trial that he walked to her mobile home and told her that he may have kicked Twila Busby to death. Pretty compelling. Except that “evidence did not show she had been kicked.” And “The neighbor has since recanted parts of her testimony.” So … less compelling, then. By the way, Skinner and opponents of the death penalty aren’t the only ones who want the evidence tested: [The victims’] family has also pressed state officials to do the forensic testing, saying it would end the years-long delay while Skinner has pressed his legal claims. The family, including Busby’s surviving daughter, believes Skinner is guilty. Petition Governor Perry to withdraw Skinner’s execution warrant and order DNA testing here. Much more here, here, and here. (via kohenari)

Milton Mathis, Convicted Killer, Executed In Texas Despite Evidence Of Retardation zainyk: A man convicted of slaying two people and critically injuring a third in a drug house shooting was executed on Tuesday evening by Texas officials, despite evidence that he suffered from mental retardation. Milton Mathis, 32, was sentenced to death in 1999, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Intelligence tests, including one given by the Texas Department of Corrections in 2000, measured Mathis’s IQ in the low 60s, well below the threshold for mild mental retardation as recognized by almost all states. The argument used by the prosecution is that he was “street smart”, it’s a argument I have heard DA’s use about clients I have worked with during my time in NC. To be clear, the man had an IQ in the low 60’s, this gives him a mental age of 8-10. According to court records, Mathis began smoking PCP and marijuana soaked in formaldehyde, known as “fry,” as early as age 12. There is no excuse for what Milton Mathis did. He was convicted of murder. But what purpose is served, what good is it to society, other than vengeance, when you kill a man with the mind of a 10 year old. He was killed by the state, with the sanction of the people. His mind was that of a child, could he have not been locked away for life, as punishment? Could he not have been allowed to live yet deprived of his freedom as a result of what he did? What difference would it have really made to the people and to the state? I thought that the Supreme Court had ruled that it was unconstitutional to do executions of people with MR.