Category: death penalty

  • Defense’s First Brief in Opposition to Mandamus

    I’ve added to my Scribd collection of documents from the John Green case the defense’s initial brief in opposition to mandamus, filed before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ first order denying mandamus. Green Defense Brief in Opposition to Mandamus

  • Briefs in Texas v. Green Mandamus

    Here are three briefs filed today in State ex rel Lykos v. Fine, the mandamus proceeding in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals arising out of the defense’s efforts to show that there is an unreasonable risk that a factually innocent person will be executed, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. First is the defense’s […]

  • Nope, No Balm in Gilead. Sorry.

    Nobody knows for sure whether Texas has executed an innocent person. Insiders recognize that the odds are excellent, but there hasn’t been the sort of thoroughgoing review of the evidence that would be required to exonerate an executed person. Cameron Willingham is looking like a good candidate, but the State of Texas is in no […]

  • Judge Fine and the Chronicle Back Off

    A Houston judge who ruled last week that the proceedings surrounding the Texas death penalty are unconstitutional rescinded his ruling this morning to schedule a hearing for lawyers on both sides to submit arguments on the issue. (Houston Chronicle, from which the Keirnan and Allen quotes below also come) While I wasn’t able to attend […]

  • Parsing the Made-Up News

    Friday, Fine clarified that he declared the procedures Texas has in place to carry out the death penalty unconstitutional, a legal parsing even to the prosecutors trying the case. The Houston Chronicle clings doggedly to the false proposition that Kevin Fine “declared the death penalty unconstitutional Thursday.” On Friday Judge Fine clarified why he was […]

  • Harris County Death Penalty Update: They Report, I Explain.

    More news, documents, and analysis of Kevin Fine’s order holding the Texas death penalty procedure statute, Code of Criminal Procedure Article 37.071, unconstitutional: Yesterday I brought you the motion, and the order Judge Fine signed. I explained how the press had the story wrong (the death penalty isn’t unconstitutional; the procedural statute is; correcting the […]

  • Judge Fine on the Constitutionality of 37.071

    A courtroom observer reports that Judge Fine took judicial notice of more than 200 death row inmates exonerated, most due to DNA retests, which called into question many more cases where DNA was not available to retest. The following are approximate quotes from Judge Fine: I must decide what our evolving standards or decency are, […]

  • Even in Texas, Death Penalty Still Constitutional

    Brian Rogers of the Houston Chronicle reported today that Judge Kevin Fine of the 177th District Court “declared the death penalty unconstitutional.” This caused the Chronicle’s anonymous commenters to gibber ignorantly in righteous indignation like a cage full of unusually stupid monkeys. Which is always fun. Paul Kennedy was immediately on the story, for which […]

  • David Martin, Willingham’s Trial Lawyer, Speaks Up (Updated With New Links)

    Cameron Todd Willingham’s trial lawyer, David Martin, on Anderson Cooper yesterday. Awfully defensive for a guy who thinks he is right. Repeated highlights: “You pour lighter fluid on a carpet and set it on fire, it looks just like those pictures.” (We’re not much on the scientific method here in Texas.) “I have been a […]

  • Criminal Liability for Judicial Murder in Texas

    I’ve been meaning to write this piece for a while, either as a blog post or as the framework for a piece of speculative legal fiction. Cindy Henley’s and Jeff Gamso’s comments to my post about the Cameron Todd Willingham case prompted me to do it now, rather than later . . . . If […]