Christopher Jay Swift is set for execution on Jan 30, which is this Tuesday. He is set to die for the 2003 murders of his wife and mother-in-law. Because the appeals process usually takes a number of years, death row inmates usually wait much longer before execution than Mr. Swift has. He has canceled all appeals and asked the judge to set an execution date for him. He wants to die and he wants the state of Texas to help in his suicide. He currently has no attorneys working on his behalf. In February 2006 he asked a judge to dismiss his appeal lawyers and allow him to represent himself. Then he waived any appeals.
Whether an execution takes place or not should be the decision of the justice system after all questions that could warrant a different outcome have been addressed by the courts. Appeals of a death sentence should proceed despite the objection of a death-sentenced inmate. Executions are conducted in the name of the people, they are not conducted to satisfy the desires of an inmate, particularly one who may have mental problems and there are questions about the sanity of Swift, which could be addressed in an appeal of his case, but he won’t allow any appeals to take place. His previous defense attorneys Jerry Cobb and Derek Adame argued that Mr. Swift was legally insane, calling a psychiatrist who testified that he believed Mr. Swift was schizophrenic.
The Denton Record-Chronicle reports that:
Mr. Swift wrote several letters, which appear in court files, asking for an execution date as soon as possible.
“I am writing to you one final time to plead with you to set my execution date ahead of those already scheduled,” he wrote Oct. 19, 2006. “While others dread their approaching executions, I am very anxious to be executed and go to heaven to be reunited with my loved ones who understand what those on Earth cannot, i.e. the forgiving power of the Lord.”
At the very least, Swift should be allowed to ask the court or the governor to stop his execution, if he changes his mind about not wanting to pursue any further appeals.
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000 [office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST]
Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849
For anyone who wonders about stays on the day of an execution here is a number to call:
TDCJ Public information—1-936-437-1303 —-just ask if the execution is still scheduled.