As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Perry's Cover-Up

I'm sure the Fox-bots will be talking about some other grave misconduct inside the Obama Administration today ("the candy czar took a Snickers bar away from a baby!"), but a truly sickening story of political cover-up is unfolding in Texas, should they care to turn their heads.

A top prosecutor in the Tarrant County district attorney's office said Wednesday that he has no idea why Gov. Rick Perry abruptly removed him from the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Perry abruptly replaced three members of the commission -- including the chairman -- just two days before it was to meet to discuss a finding that a faulty investigation might have led to the execution of an innocent man.

The meeting was subsequently cancelled.

Perry also removed board member Aliece Watts, a forensic scientist in Euless.

The governor told The Associated Press that the board members' terms were expiring and that replacing them “was pretty standard business as usual.”

But several board members have had their appointments renewed, The AP reported.

The chairman was replaced by a DA named John Bradley, "one of the most conservative, hard-line prosecutors in Texas," who never heard of the position until Perry offered it to him on Wednesday.

Cameron Todd Willingham was put to death in 2004 for an arson that killed his three daughters, but the overwhelming body of evidence, detailed in this New Yorker article, is that he was an innocent man. The article notes that Dr. Gerald Hurst, an arson expert, ran an investigation of the incident and concluded there was no evidence pointing to Willingham and that the fire resulted by accident, and delivered a report saying the same to Gov. Perry's office before the execution, which the Governor then ignored (there's no evidence he even looked at it). The board meeting to review the case could have determined that Perry's negligence led to the state killing someone innocent of any crime.

Perry didn't want that information revealed, and so he shut down the board. And given that he faces a March primary for another term as Governor, he probably really wanted to make sure that the board wouldn't meet again until after then.

Simon Malloy writes:

This is all, at the very least, quite fishy. It's also potentially earth-shaking -- never before has it been conclusively determined that someone in this country was wrongfully put to death. If Cameron Todd Willingham's innocence can be proven, it would upend the entire rationale behind our system of capital punishment. And yet there hasn't been a whole lot of media coverage - a Nexis search of all news sources for the past two days for (cameron w/2 willingham and perry) turned up seven results.

What are we being treated to instead? In-depth and sensationalist reports about what President Obama's "safe schools czar" said to one of his students 21 years ago. That's the problem with letting Glenn Beck set the news agenda - the stories that actually matter sometimes slip through.

We're talking about state-sanctioned murder here, or at least negligent homicide, with one of the most obvious cover-ups to that action.

I know I'm not conservative enough to be America's assignment editor, but this seems worth a mention.

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