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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Media Coverage of Travis County DA Candidates Forum

The room was packed for last night's forum with the candidates for Travis County District Attorney, co-hosted by Texas Moratorium Network and the ACLU-TX Central Texas chapter.

Below is the media coverage, which largely focused on the candidates responses to the death penalty question. Three of the candidates gave pro death penalty answers, but one, Rick Reed, said he would not authorize the DA's office to seek the death penalty if he is elected and would not ask for execution dates to be set for anyone from Travis County already on death row.

KUT has an audio report by Ben Philpott.

The Austin-American Statesman's article, "4 Travis candidates lay out their views on death penalty" says in part:

Three of the four candidates for Travis County district attorney told a packed room of potential voters in East Austin on Monday that, if elected, they would continue to seek the death penalty for the worst killers.

Outgoing District Attorney Ronnie Earle's assistants Gary Cobb and Rosemary Lehmberg, who are hoping to replace him, said that some people's crimes are so heinous that the public's safety is served by seeking their execution. Candidate Mindy Montford, another Earle assistant, said that because the death penalty is on the books in Texas, she must consider it if elected.

Candidate Rick Reed, who resigned from Earle's office last week, said he would not seek the death penalty under any circumstances. Reed also said he wouldn't seek death warrants for the five condemned killers already on death row from Travis County. Death warrants, issued by a trial court at a prosecutor's request when the killer's appeals have run out, set dates of execution.

"I believe it is a mistake ... to seek the death penalty," said Reed, citing his moral opposition and the cost of prosecuting such cases.
Keye, Channel 42, the local CBS affiliate, also reported on the event and has their video report online here.

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