brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

The Texas Justice System

The Electric Chair

Regardless of the fact of whether it just so happens to be an unfortunate coincidence or not, an innocent black person is more likely to be the victim of the legal, judicial, and law enforcement institutions of the United States. DNA evidence as well as other processes employed in the review of the judicial system has proven the innocence of many people, black and white, who have been convicted for crimes and given life long sentences and even the death penalty. In January of 2000, Illinois Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the state’s death penalty when the capital punishment process was reviewed. Said the Governor, we have now freed more people that we have put to death under our system. At that time, thirteen people were exonerated while twelve had their death sentences carried out. The idea that innocent people were being murdered in the name of the people of Illinois was too much for the Governor to bear.

However, the legal and judicial representatives of the great state of Texas suffer from no similar sense of guilt or decency. Since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1977, the state of Texas has executed three hundred ninety four people as of June 6th, 2007. Prior to George W. Bush becoming Governor the state of Texas executed eighty-seven people. His first year in office Mr. Bush oversaw seventeen executions. The second year he oversaw forty executions, a two hundred thirty five percent increase. Before he left office, Mr. Bush saw one hundred fifty two people killed in the name of the people of Texas. From December 7th of 1982, when the first execution in Texas was performed since the reinstitution on a black man, to January 17th of 1995, people in Texas were executed at a rate of seven per year. During the Bush governorship, the rate jumped to twenty-five deaths per year. That is an increase of three hundred fifty percent and a rate that pretty much continues to this day. Mr. Bush likes to spew rhetoric of how he’s working hard to save American lives with his war on terror. But at the same time, Mr. Bush not only approved the execution of people who could have the potential to be innocent, as Governor of Texas he worked hard to lubricate the Texas legal mechanism used to kill people in order to improve its efficiency.

According to a Scripps-Howard poll of Texas residents performed in February of 2001, seventy-three percent approved of the death penalty. Yet the same poll indicated that fifty-seven percent of the residents believed that Texas had killed innocent people. The fact that these people approve of innocent people being murdered so they can enjoy the perception of feeling safe because government is recklessly killing people is truly remarkable. Nearly six out of ten people in Texas have no problem with the discrepancy in the system because their self-focused sense of decency convinces them that since they and the rest of their family pretty much abide the laws chances are good that they will never be the victim of their fellow Texans’ hell bent drive to kill.

When made aware of the results of the poll, Mr. Bush made one of his infamous, head-up-his-ass quotes saying, as far as I’m concerned there has not been one innocent person executed since I’ve been Governor. When confronted with a Columbia University study that found two-thirds of death sentences in the United States between the years of 1973 through 1995 were overturned because of bas or suppressed evidence Mr. Bush’s head retreated even further saying, we have never put an innocent person to death.

Mr. Bush conveniently forgets Texas history with cases such as Clarence Bradley, the janitor of a high school in Conroe, Texas who was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Cheryl Ferguson, a sixteen year old white girl who attended the school. Without any physical evidence and only the coerced testimony of three white janitors who also worked at the school, an all white jury found Mr. Bradley guilty. After spending nine years in jail all charges were dropped against Mr. Bradley in 1990.

Mr. Bush also forgets the case against Kerry Max Cook, who endured three trials and twenty years on death row, who was proven innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt when DNA testing on the semen stains found on the victim’s clothing was performed. Unwilling to admit error, prosecutors refused to release Mr. Cook unless he pled no contest. Tired of the agonizingly slow wheels of Texas’ perversion of justice, Mr. Cook took their offer and cut his losses. Note that Mr. Bush could have intervened on Mr. Cook’s behalf but refused less he looked soft on crime.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram conducted an investigation that indicated proof that the poor the poor residents of Texas suffered from substandard justice and legal services. The Texas Defender Service had evidence that as many as eighty cases were discovered where officials of the state presented false and/or misleading evidence or testimony and at least one hundred twenty cases where psychiatric testimony was given after a pitifully brief examination or absolutely no examination of the defendant. When asked why he continued to deny a moratorium on capital punishment, George Bush, his head virtually irrecoverable at this point responded, the reason why is I’m confident that every person that has been put to death under our state is guilty of the crime charged.

One last infamous quote from this master sleuth of investigation (insert the stutters at your discretion). I analyze each case when it comes across my desk, looking at innocence or guilt. As far as I’m concerned, there has not been one innocent person executed since I’ve been Governor.

The Texas Defender Service have generated a number of reports documenting the misconduct of officials of the state, convictions based on nothing more than junk science, racism, the prosecution of mentally retarded defendants, inadequate counsel for the poor, fake appeals, less than bona fide meaningful review, and state officials who refuse to examine the system for these discrepancies.

According to Derrick Jackson in an article written for the Boston Globe back in October of 2000, the racial inconsistencies in the Texas death row sentencing was astounding. While blacks made up twenty-three percent of murder victims less than one percent of Texas executions are the result of crimes against blacks. While white women made up only one percent of murder victims, over a third of the people executed in the Texas prison system were the result of the murder of white women. Yet the people of Texas hold fast to their principles and stand ready to defend their racially biased system to their death or until they themselves become a victim of the zealous, murderous, self serving, nature of the Texas death row system.

Mr. Bush isn’t well known for giving pardons to people on death row. His analysis of the criminal system leads him to believe everyone who goes to trial gets a fair and thorough hearing based on the law. But five bucks says he’ll give Dick Chaney’s buddy Scooter Libby a pardon in the name of the American people if he goes to prison

Saturday, June 16, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Justice, Philosophy, Racism

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