North Carolina’s governor today signed a bill establishing an Innocence Commission in his state. The new North Carolina Innocence Commission is far different than what has been proposed in Texas, where a bill filed in the last session of the Texas Legislature for a proposed innocence commission would have only established a commission to study old death penalty cases to find out what went wrong in the system. It would not have had the authority to review convicted felons’ claims of innocence, as in NC.
North Carolina’s public and policymakers seem to be somewhat ahead of their Texas counterparts. In Texas, it seems as if some people are still struggling with the recent shocking news that Texas may have executed three innocent people, Carlos De Luna, Cameron Willingham and Ruben Cantu. Some of the old time defenders of the system in Texas don’t yet seem willing to admit that the system they have been defending for decades as having never executed an innocent person has in fact already executed at least three innocent people. We expect, as the shock of the recent revelations in Texas wears off, that Texas policymakers will embrace reforms, including a moratorium on executions, as the only way to ensure that innocent people are not executed in Texas.