Texas' Infallible Killing Machine
George W. Bush once stated that, in the four years he was Governor of Texas, no innocent men or women were executed. Now George W. Bush did in fact sign death warrants for well over 100 men and women in his reign of terror as the Tough on Crime Governor. How can he even begin to make a claim like that? Who does he think he is? God?
He, along with the present Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, claims other states, such as Illinois, do not have the same safeguards in place as Texas does. He says that is why so many innocent claims have been proven to be true in those other states.
If this is so true, why is the State of Texas so against a temporary moratorium of the death penalty so an OUT OF STATE ORGANIZATION can conduct a thorough investigation? I'll tell you why. What would be uncovered would be an overabundance of horrific proof of an extremely unjust and fallible system which has executed innocent men and women time and time again.
Let me try to point out just a few of the more questionable areas in Texas' infallible killing machine of justice. In 1996, they passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. This bill's primary function is to speed up the appeals process. Now the very few death penalty cases in Texas that have been overturned and proven innocent did not happened overnight. No, these people have spent an average of ten years on the "Row" before their innocence was proven.
The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 makes it hard for a death row prisoner to have six to eight years to appeal. I guess that is one way Texas can insure that we find no more valid innocence claims, eh? Very effective indeed!!
Another great example of the State of Texas' "safeguards" to insure that no innocent life be taken was the ruling the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal made which stated, "In sum, we conclude article 11.071 section 2 grants a statutory right to the appointment of competent counsel, BUT IT DOES NOT GIVE A HABEAS APPLICANT A CONSTITUTIONAL OR STATUTORY RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF THAT COUNSEL. In the particular case, that can form the basis of a subsequent writ under article 11.071 section 5." So, what that means is that we are not guaranteed competent counsel. Filing an "ineffective assistance of counsel" claim is now a running joke in the State of Texas's District Attorney's office. No worries there.
I have first hand knowledge about this. Let me briefly explain the appeals process. First, once found guilty, you have a Direct Appeal, followed by State, Federal, 5th Circuit and then Supreme Court Appeal. We all here on "the row" pretty much know if we do not receive positive relief at the Federal Level, we are dead.
Now, during my State Appeal, I wrote my lawyer numerous times about issues and avenues I wanted followed up on. In the application of my state habeas corpus petition, not only did my letters go unanswered, but my concerns were not looked into, investigated, or even thought about. I even had family members call him after he did not answer my letters. He brushed them off as well.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but felt the need to act. I wrote letters to both my State Judge and the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) with my concerns about my lawyer's lack of communication and overall competence in handling my state habeas. Of course I never received a response to either letter. My lawyer then filed an inadequate state habeas corpus petition which was denied by the CCA and then I was thrown into Federal Court. Even though this was bringing me one step closer to my own death, I had high hopes on getting a good lawyer at the Federal level. As a general rule we are issued new counsel with a fresh and new view at every new level of appeal. Hell, it couldn't get much woirse. WRONG!! The courts appointed me the exact same lawyer who I filed an "incompetent counsel" claim on in my State Appeal.
When I asked my lawyer what new issues he had in mind for my Federal habeas corpus, he stated "Well we already have a solid habeas and I think it will get action in the Federal Courts." So he was paid roughly another $16,000 by the court to rubber stamp my state habeas and apply it as my federal habeas. Can you say "SET UP?" If THIS sounds bad, believe it or not, there are worse examples.
One trial attorney admitted to being strung out on cocaine. He also admitted to coming to court so drunk that he fell asleep numerous times. This is Calvin Burdine's lawyer I am talking about. Now the CCA and initial 5th circuit panel ruled that "the parts of the trial the lawyer slept though were not deemed significant." Now this is a Capital Murder trial, where the outcome may determine the taking of a man or woman's life if the verdict says such. To me, that makes ALL PARTS of the trial SIGNIFICANT. So a coked-out, drunk, sleeping lawyer is deemed a competent attorney in the State of Texas "good ole boy" system of justice.
Here are a few examples of men already executed that had strong claims of innocence:
David Spence: the DNA on the victim was not David's! There was proven no DNA match.
Leo Herrera: His brother admitted to doing the crime. The courts ruled "Innocence does not matter, as long as Mr. Herrera had a fair trial and was found guilty."
Jesse Jacobs: His sister admitted to doing the crime.
Jerry Houge: the State refused to test the DNA. When the issue was forced, the State claimed they... "lost the DNA."
I know this sounds like rubbish, and that is why I gave these names. These are facts! Facts that y'all can easily enough check. Stop ignoring what is going on in Texas. This unjust Killing Machine has killed inncocent men and women in the past and will continue to kill more innocent people in it's blood humgry future. Don't hesitate to check archived articles in the Texas daily newspapers.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and all my articles. Hopefully it will inspire y'all to take a closer look at the infamous Killing Machine.
Down and Out in Struggle,
Richard Michael Cartwright