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October 21st, 2009
05:23 PM ET

Review death penalty law, ex-governor urges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has shaken up a state commission that is probing whether a man executed in 2004 belonged on death row.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has shaken up a state commission that is probing whether a man executed in 2004 belonged on death row.

R.G. Ratcliffe
Houston Chronicle

Former Gov. Mark White, who was involved in the executions of 20 condemned criminals, says it may be time for Texas to do away with the death penalty.

The death penalty is no longer a deterrent to murder, and long stays for the condemned on death row shows justice is not swift, White said.

More than anything, he said, he has grown concerned that the system is not administered fairly and that there are too many risks of executing innocent people.

White said the state needs to take a serious look at replacing the death penalty with life without parole.

"There is a very strong case to be made for a review of our death penalty statutes and even look at the possibility of having life without parole so we don't look up one day and determined that we as the state of Texas have executed someone who is in fact innocent,” said White.

Perry controversy

Current Gov. Rick Perry is facing national criticism for not granting a 30-day stay in 2004 to Cameron Todd Willingham after an arson expert raised questions about the house fire that killed his three children.

Perry ignited the controversy recently by replacing members of the Texas Forensics Commission that were looking into the science behind the arson investigation in the Willingham case.

Perry responded by calling Willingham a “monster” and saying he has no doubt of his guilt.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Death penalty
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Mari

    Its disturbing and hypocritical that a state like Texas which is full of Christians, has the death penalty and the death penalty is supported!

    Killing is wrong! And an "eye for an eye" solves nothing!

    October 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm |