Anthony Graves may soon walk off Texas Death Row on his way to an exoneration. This is yet another case in which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is said to have become a national “laughingstock” by one of its own judges, refused to remove an innocent person from Death Row. In March, the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals overturned Graves’ 1994 capital murder conviction, forcing U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent to order a new trial. Kent set a Sept. 12 deadline for Graves to be set free on bail or given a new trial. Kent refused a request Thursday by the Texas Attorney General’s Office to delay the Sept. 12 deadline while an appeal of the 5th Circuit Court’s ruling is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, Graves’ attorneys will seek to get Graves released on bail. Read an article from 2000 by CBS News on the case.
“The mere possibility that the United States Supreme Court could accept review of the decision of the Court of Appeals and reverse is not sufficiently likely to justify Graves’ continued detention in contravention” of a federal rule requiring that Graves be released on bond, Kent wrote, as reported in The Houston Chronicle.
Roy Greenwood, Graves’ defense attorney, has said: “They don’t have any testimony putting him there. They have no physical evidence. They don’t have a confession; they don’t have anything.”
Last statement of Robert Earl Carter before his execution on May 31, 2000
To the Davis family, I am sorry for all of the pain that I caused your family. It was me and me alone. Anthony Graves had nothing to do with it. I lied on him in court. My wife had nothing to do with it. Anthony Graves don’t even know anything about it. My wife don’t know anything about it. But, I hope that you can find your peace and comfort in strength in Christ Jesus alone. Like I said, I am sorry for hurting your family. And it is a shame that it had to come to this. So I hope that you don’t find peace, not in my death, but in Christ. Cause He is the only one that can give you the strength that you need.
A couple of years ago, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals failed to overturn the conviction of another innocent man – Ernest Willis. A federal court had to step in and overturn his conviction. Willis walked off death row in Octber 2004 a free man, fully exonerated.