And Now, All Eyes are On the Governor - Will Virginia's Tim Kaine Stop the Execution of John Muhammad, the DC Sniper?

Virginia executes more people in this country than any other state than Texas, so the statistics seem to sway us toward a prediction that Governor Tim Kaine will allow the upcoming execution of John Muhammad, the DC Sniper. 

And Kaine is the only barrier betweeen John Muhammad and death. 

That's because the United States Supreme Court officially declined to hear Mr. Muhammad's appeal yesterday -- and what is unusual about that is they did so long before anyone expected them to do so.  As Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor explained in a joint statement authored by Stevens, under standard operating procedure the high court would have taken this matter under consideration during its November 24th Justices' conference. 

By declining to stay the execution in order to maintain that SOP Justice Stevens wrote, "...we have allowed Virginia to truncate our deliberative process on a matter -- involving a death row inmate -- that demands the most careful attention." 

Importantly, the Justices' statement points out a crucial problem in this case, something of which we all need to be aware:  Virginia scheduled John Muhammad's execution before all of his legal avenues had been exhausted. 

That's right -- Virginia scheduled a man for death before the legal processes had been completed, those legal safeguards that are in place to insure that no legal errors had been made.  To quote the Statement, " '[t]his case highlights once again the perversity of executing inmates before their appeals process has been fully concluded."

Perversity indeed. 

We're watching, Governor Kaine.

Texas Governor Rick Perry Makes History at 200 Executions with the Death of Terry Hawkins Last Night

The role of state governors cannot be underestimated in any death penalty case: this one man or woman has the ability to save a life by commuting a death sentence to one of life imprisonment. Rick Perry has been known to exercise this power and commute death sentences in the past, but not this week.

Governor Rick Perry Makes U.S. History

This week, Rick Perry far surpasses the infamous 152 executions of Texas Governor George W. Bush with the execution of Terry Lee Hankins on June 2, 2009. In fact, Hankins' death brought Perry's capital punishment total to a record-breaking 200 deaths.

That's right. Two hundred. 200.

With this record, Rick Perry has insured his place in history as the governor who has allowed more executions to take place in his state than any other governor in U.S. history.

A Remarkable Feat, Especially Considering Criminal Justice in Texas Right Now

Amazing as this is, Perry's landmark is even more incredulous given that he is governor of the same state where:


  1. the Innocence Project in Dallas has found a record number of wrongful convictions using DNA genetic testing and analysis (many of them being Death Row convictions of innocent men);

  2. the Harris County (Houston) Crime Lab, which handles a huge work volume, is notoriously known for a "team mentality" that has generated numerous false convictions; and

  3. the Chief Justice of the highest state court overseeing criminal matters, Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is being tried AND impeached for her bad acts involving a failed motion to stay the conviction of Death Row inmate Michael Richard.


Protests Against Governor Perry Come From All Over the Globe

Formal protests against this 200th Execution reached all over Texas and the nation, indeed throughout the world, with groups as far as Leipzig, Germany; Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; and Montreal, Canada, organizing formal demonstrations against the 200th Texas execution. A website has been created to unify the various protests at www.protest200executions.com.

If you would like to voice your opinion to Governor Perry, please feel free to do so: he can be reached at (512) 463-1782.

 
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