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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Texan Columnist: Rick Reed best choice for district attorney

Last week, The Daily Texan Editorial Board endorsed Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney. Yesterday, one of their regular columnists wrote a long article entitled, "Rick Reed best choice for district attorney".

The only candidate who has come out against the death penalty is Reed, and his adamant anti-death penalty platform would bring fundamental change from the status quo, pro-death penalty campaigns of the other three candidates. Reed is by far the most progressive candidate in this race.

Reed's view on the death penalty is not the only thing that sets him apart. He supports expanding the use of drug courts to divert more people charged with drug possession into treatment, freeing up more prosecutors for other crimes. He has promised to work closely with the Innocence Project to investigate cases of possible wrongful convictions, as has been done recently by the Dallas County DA. Reed wants to decentralize decision-making in the office, giving front-line prosecutors more discretion over their cases. Most importantly, he spearheaded the money-laundering case against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and he told the Texas Observer that he was the only person within the DA's office pushing for an indictment against Delay, while Lehmberg opposed prosecuting the powerful politician.
The colunm also criticizes Gary Cobb for being the most pro death penalty candidate in the race and for his handling of the LaCresha Murray Case.
Cobb has made the strongest pro-death penalty statements, having said that "some people didn't deserve to keep living."

Cobb also came under fire when he used a coerced confession to convict Lacresha Murray, an 11-year-old girl charged with capital murder in 1996. Cobb was the lead prosecutor in her case, which was later thrown out by a Republican appeals court after receiving national coverage on "60 Minutes" questioning the reasoning for charging someone so young with a capital crime.
At last night's DA forum sponsored by the Cat Mountain Homeowners Association and Austin Neighborhoods Council, Cobb once again came across as the most pro-death penalty candidate. At one point he bragged about having been endorsed by Rusty Hubbarth of the pro-death penalty advocacy group Justice For All. Hubbarth often appears on TV whenever the media needs a Texan to argue in favor of the death penalty. He was in favor of giving the death penalty to Andrea Yates, even though Andrea's husband opposed doing so. Hubbarth also favored expanding the death penalty to people who do not even kill anyone in Jessica's Law cases.

Off the Kuff has a quote by Hubbarth from a committee hearing at the Texas Legislature:
JFA representative Rusty Hubbarth, testifying to Texas legislators last year on a proposal for a moratorium on executions, was asked by one lawmaker, "Rusty, you're not in favor of executing innocent people, are you?"

"Not this week," Hubbarth joked.

The humor was probably lost on two men in attendance that day. Randall Adams and Kerry Cook had collectively spent more than a decade in prison for crimes they didn't commit -- they'd both come within hours of execution.
Gary Cobb would do well to disassociate himself from the likes of Rusty Hubbarth.

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