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Friday, December 15, 2006

Moratoriums imposed today in Florida and California

The AP is reporting that "Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after a medical examiner said Friday that prison officials botched the insertion of the needles when a convicted killer was put to death earlier this week.

Separately, a federal judge in California imposed a moratorium on executions in the nation's most populous state, declaring that the state's method of lethal injection runs the risk of violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment."

The moratoriums in these two states are based on problems with the method of lethal injection. Texas executes many more people than any other state, so there is a strong probability of botched executions in Texas too. However, the bigger problem in Texas is that innocent people are at a high risk of execution in Texas. Recently, there have been credible reports that three innocent people were executed in Texas, Ruben Cantu, Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos De Luna.

The next session of the Texas Legislature, which gets underway in January, should enact emergency legislation to halt executions in Texas, so that we can ensure that no more innocent people are executed in Texas.

Rep. Harold Dutton of Houston is expected to file legislation that would enact a moratorium and create a commission to study capital punishment in Texas.

Robert Black, spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry, said, "Perry has no plans to announce a moratorium on the death penalty and executions," Black said Friday. "He believes it is administered fairly, justly and in accordance with the law."

Perry was re-elected in November with 39 percent of the vote.

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