Friday, October 31, 2008

Death row survivors call for moratorium on executions

Every session since 2001, there has been legislation introduced in the Texas Legislature to enact a moratorium on executions. In 2009, when the Legislature convenes in January, the results of the election on Nov 4 may have given new impetus to the drive to enact a moratorium since Republicans may lose their majority in the Texas House. TMN will be making a major push next Spring for a moratorium. Today, Austin was visited by several survivors of death row from around the country.

From the AP:

AUSTIN — A group of death row survivors called on the Texas Legislature on Friday to halt executions in the nation's most active death penalty state and establish an innocence commission to free other wrongfully convicted inmates.

"There have been some innocent people that have been executed right here in Texas," said Clarence Brandley, who spent nine years on death row in Texas before being exonerated in the murder of a Conroe teenager. "But the politicians are not going to say that."

Brandley was joined at the state capitol by 19 other men who had been released from death row in various states. They want the Texas Legislature to declare a death penalty moratorium while experts examine how capital punishment is carried out in the state.

Former Bexar County District Attorney Sam Millsap said Texas, which has executed 419 people since the reinstatement of the death penalty, has the "most efficient death machine in the free world."

Millsap, who once supported capital punishment but now believes he probably sent an innocent man to the death chamber, said he joined the opposition movement because he lost faith in the justice system.

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