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:
- 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);
- 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
- 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.