There is a public comment period on the agenda for this meeting right before the discussion on the Todd Willingham report.
During a two-day meeting to begin Thursday afternoon, the Texas Forensic Science Commission will discuss a draft report on the arson science used to convict and execute Cameron Todd Willingham for a 1991 fatal fire at his Corsicana home.The report, compiled after input was sought from all nine commissioners, is at the end of the committee agenda, so the discussion might not begin until Friday.The report’s scope will be limited while the commission awaits answers about whether it has jurisdiction under state law to investigate the Willingham case. The attorney general’s office has until July 30 to provide an answer on that.The report is expected to focus on advances in arson investigation techniques while avoiding questions about whether Willingham’s investigators were negligent in basing their arson finding on fire conditions now known to be found in accidental and natural fires as well as intentionally set blazes.Unless another meeting is scheduled before the legislative session ends May 30, this will be the last meeting led by Chairman John Bradley, who is also the Williamson County district attorney. Because Bradley’s nomination does not have enough support in the state Senate, his time on the commission will end when the session closes.
|Forensic Science Commission Chair John Bradley|
|Scott Cobb, Chris Ochoa and Jeanette Popp
in Austin on April 11, 2011
Christopher Ochoa and Jeanette Popp were in Austin yesterday to film interviews for an August 2011 program on the Discovery Network about wrongful convictions. Also in town was John Pray of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which led the effort to exonerate Chris Ochoa.
Chris is an innocent person who was wrongfully convicted of murdering Jeanette’s daughter, Nancy DePriest, in Austin. He spent 12 years in prison before another person confessed to the crime. He and a co-defendant, Richard Danziger, received a settlement of about 14 million dollars from the City of Austin for misconduct by the Austin Police Department leading to their wrongful convictions.
Ms. Popp asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, because she says she did not want her daughter’s memory stained with someone’s blood. “I’m not a bleeding heart liberal,” she says. “But I do have a heart.”
Since the exoneration, she has been an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. That doesn’t mean she wants Mr. Marino to ever walk free.
We heard Anthony Graves speak Thursday night at CEDP’s panel discussion at UT-Austin. He is such an eloquent speaker and his story is so powerful. The members of the Texas Legislature should think about what happened to Anthony and acknowledge that the same thing could happen to any of us. Anthony was completely innocent yet he was condemned to death in Texas. Anthony is walking evidence why Texas should enact a moratorium and start discussing the future of the death penalty in Texas.
From death rows to super-maxes, over 2.3 million men and women sit behind bars today. “Lethal Injustice” speakers are organizing on the front-lines of the fight against criminal injustice, taking a stand against the racist, prison build-up and harsh sentencing.
This national speaking tour of the Campaign to END the Death Penalty will be featuring panelists including exonerated prisoners, family members, activists, lawyers and scholars.
This event is being held at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas in The University Teaching Center, room UTC1.102. A campus map to this building can be found here.
UTC is located at the corner of University Ave. and 21st Street.
A $5 suggested donation is encouraged, help keep events like this one happening in your area!
Event to begin promptly at 7pm, discussion will follow the speaker’s presentations.
Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
We hope that you will join us in this fight for fairness and social justice.Please join our email list and become one of the more than 20,000 people receiving information through our network.