Monday, October 19, 2009

Video Explaining that Rick Perry's General Counsel on Day of Todd Willingham's Investigation was Later Charged and Cleared in His Own Arson Case

The news video below talks about Texas Governor Rick Perry's then-general counsel David Medina's role in advising Perry on the day of Todd Willingham's execution. Medina was later appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by Perry. In 2007, Medina's wife was charged with arson and Medina himself was charged with records tampering after their home burned down. The charges were later dropped against Medina's wife, Francisca, after an arson investigator hired by Medina found that arson could not have been the cause. Charges were dropped against David Medina for insufficient evidence.

Here is how Glenn Smith at Dog Canyon explains it:

His (Medina's) wife, Francisca, was cleared of arson charges based on an independent forensic and arson investigator’s report. The expert found the fire might have been accidental.

Willingham was convicted and sentenced to death for a fire that killed his three children. A report from an independent forensic and arson investigator sent to Perry and Medina 88 minutes before the execution said the fire was probably accidental. Perry and Medina ignored it as irrelevant. Perry has subsequently mocked independent scientists.

Now Perry has publicly admitted Medina’s role in the 2004 Willingham execution. There could be no greater or more tragic example of our unequal, two-tiered system of justice. I don’t know if the Medinas set the fire or not. I don’t know if Willingham was guilty, although all the independent experts say the fire wasn’t even arson, meaning no crime was committed.
The Medina arson case shows how different an outcome can be when a defendant has the financial means to hire a good trial lawyer and a scientifically trained fire investigator. If Todd Willingham had had a good trial lawyer or had been able to hire a scientifically trained fire investigator in 1991, then charges against Willingham would also likely have been dismissed, just like they were dismissed in the case of the lawyer who on the day of Willingham's execution counselled Rick Perry not to stop the execution of Todd Willingham.

Sign the petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.

We plan to deliver the petition at the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24 at 2pm in Austin at the Texas Capitol.

Speakers at the march include Walter Reaves, Todd Willingham's last attorney - the one who handled his final appeals. Reaves fought through the execution to prove Willingham's innocence and is continuing to fight to exonerate his former client, in contrast to Willingham's unethical trial lawyer, David Martin, who went on national tv and revealed confidential work product from the Willingham case while arguing that Willingham was guilty.

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