Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Texas: Pardon for DeLay?

It is reported that members of the State's Republican Executive Committee are considering a resolution which would call on Gov. Perry to pardon former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was just convicted of conspiracy and money laundering. The Committee is said to consist of "two members from each of the state’s 31 Senate districts." The resolution reads as follows:
Whereas, then-Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle desperately tried to get five Travis County grand juries to indict then-U.S. House Republican Majority Leader, Tom Delay, on criminal political money laundering charges, based on Earle’s politically-biased beliefs and partisan interpretation of history,

Whereas, five Travis County grand juries that Earle went to for an indictment, refused to indict Tom Delay on Earle’s abusive charges,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Speaking of All-Time Great Election Frauds!

From 1900 to 1930’s Archer Parr (1860-1942) established himself as the “boss” of Duval County, Texas. Archer eventually passed his political kingdom on to his son, George B. Parr. Together, they became known as the “Dukes of Duval.”

The elder Duke (Archer) was elected county commissioner and rose in the ranks of the Democratic Party after a prominent tax collector met a shotgun blast. The poor fellow had unwisely chosen to eat lunch, in the middle of the day, in a public restaurant. With a power vacuum to exploit, Parr immediately undertook the business of bribing voters, inflating voting turnout statistics and, if necessary, creating voters and votes. In 1914, he won a seat in the state Senate, but soon found himself under the eye of investigators. Parr was re-elected in 1918 when Duval County provided him with thirteen hundred votes and a one hundred and eighteen vote victory. The sheer closeness of the race was stressful in itself, but the cynics were overly occupied by the seemingly trivial fact that Duval County had less than a thousand eligible voters.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome Back, Mr. Clemens!

It is reported that a federal grand jury has indicted former major league baseball pitching great Roger Clemens for lying to Congress! The indictment includes one count of obstruction of Congress, two counts of perjury and three counts of making false statements. That all amounts to about 30 years of prison (appropriately 4.28 years per Cy Young Award) and more than a million dollars in fines!

When we last left Mr. Clemens, he was the focus of very mild speculation (most of it within the State of Texas and/or via attorney Richard Emery) concerning a possible last-minute presidential pardon from fellow Texan George W. Bush. Meanwhile Clemens' lawyerRusty Hardin, maintained that such speculation was the mere sport of the "insane" and/or people (like this blogger) "with too much time on their hands," because his client would "never" be convicted of anything.

At the time of this post, Mr. Hardin is speechless re three decades of prison his client is facing. He will, no doubt, get back to the media with some witty remark ASAP. One now might recall former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's rather chipper insistence, several months ago, that he had "nothing but sunshinehanging over him.

Welcome back to PardonPower's Watch List, Mr. Clemens! See story here and here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

France Asks Texas for Mercy

Bernard Valero, the French ambassador to the United States is calling on the governor of Texas to pardon a death row inmate Hank Skinner, who is scheduled to die Wednesday. Skinner was found guilty of killing a girlfriend and her two adult sons in 1993, but maintains his innocence. Skinner also has a French wife. France is firmly opposed to the death penalty. See story here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Texas: The Secret Pardon

The Texas Tribune has a can't miss story on the workings of the clemency process in that State. Along the way, it notes that, despite the importance of the decisions that it makes, the seven member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is "one of the least transparent agencies" in State government. It is not required to hold public meetings, does not have to offer explanations for its decisions and documents related to its decision making are not available to the public. In addition, "there are no guidelines in statute or in board rules that outline a basis for decision making." The members, who make from $95,000 to $115,000 a year are not even required to meet before an execution. Materials are faxed to them and they respond via fax! Some are calling for "reform"! No kidding! Read more about the Board and its decision making here here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Texas: Lawyer Disbarred, Pardoned, Angry.

Police say Robert Mustard shot himself in the head after shooting 66-year-old Richard Smith four times in the legs and 39-year-old Christopher Smith in the head and the neck (both men survived the attack). It is reported that Mustard, who received a law degree from Southern Methodist University, was "upset about financial dealings." In the 70s and 80s, he was disbarred and faced compulsory discipline after a conviction for felony bribery. But, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice also reports that Mustard received a 10-year sentence, was released on parole on Dec. 4, 1988 and received a full pardon from Governor Bill Clements in 1990. See more on the story here and here. We guess it is time to give Clements the Huckabee treatment! How could he release a violent felon and fail to see what is so obvious almost two decades later?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Texas: Can the Governor Pardon an Innocent Person (That is Actually Living)?

While the Governor has demonstrated the ability to wield his significant clemency powers in the least relevant ways, the Dallas Morning News reports that he may very well be forced to employ them on the behalf of two LIVING persons! Chris Scott and Claude Simmons were released from prison almost five months ago and declared innocent by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals yesterday. The two men spent 12 long years in prison for a murder they did not commit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Texas: Recommendation

Tim Cole was convicted of a 1985 rape and died in prison in 1999. Almost a decade later, a DNA test cleared Cole and implicated one Jerry Wayne Johnson. Now the State's pardons and parole board has recommended that Governor Perry grant Cole the first posthumous pardon in the State's history. See story here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Texas: Dead People Welcomed Here

Texas may have the reputation of being a place where you can be executed, but the State's Attorney General has ruled that, if the Governor wants, he can now pardon you after he has allowed you to be executed. The new policy is said to be the result of the case of Timothy Cole, who was proven to be innocent via DNA, but died in prison before being informed of it. See complete story here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Texas: Perry v. His Own Board

Over at Grits for Breakfast (I wish they would add cheese to that title!), there is an eye-opener chart of clemency activity in the State of Texas. It reveals that, during the tenure of Governor Perry, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended 147 individuals for full pardons. Governor Perry, on the other hand, signed off on just 38 of them. Grits also notes "many" of those were "DNA exonerees." See this great blog entry here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Texas: Time for a Second Look, Repair

Patrick McCann has written an excellent editorial for the Houston Chronicle regarding the clemency process in that state. McCann and Rodney Brown recently convinced the State's Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend a life sentence for Robert Lee Thompson. But, as McCann puts it, "Gov. Rick Perry declined to follow the advice of his own appointees and did not exercise his powers of mercy." He adds:
I am not starting a debate on the death penalty, as people's opinions are their own on this topic. I am simply here to discuss whether it is time we as a state looked hard at the way we decide who is or is not worthy of mercy, and thus, how our clemency and pardon process works. I cannot think of a better time to do this than around Thanksgiving, and as we approach the celebration of the life and death of history's most well known wrongfully convicted man. One of that gentle man's last acts was to forgive a condemned thief, if I recall correctly. We could probably do well to relearn this lesson.
He notes the Innocence Project "walks wrongly convicted men and women out of prison every week" so a "robust, vigorous clemency system" would be justified. Instead, McCann writes, the "hand of grace" is "only rarely" seen in the state of Texas. He also notes clemency processes in Texas

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Texas: Recommendation for Clemency!

In what is reported as a "highly unusual vote," the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended (in a 5-2 vote) that the death sentence of Robert Lee Thompson be commuted to life in prison. The final decision on the matter now sits with Gov. Rick Perry. Thompson was accomplice to the murder of a convenience store clerk 13 years ago. He was 21 years old at the time. His co-defendant was given a life sentence. See story here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Military Mercy Revisited: Obama and Hasan

The Associated Press has produced an article (here) which notes that the death penalty is rarely used in the federal system and is even more rare in the military system of justice. The interest in the matter, of course, flows from the recent terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 men and women and wounded 29 others. In the days and weeks to come, we will learn of decisions related to Hasan's mental health and a possible request for a death sentence. PardonPower's interest in the case flows from this observation in the article:
Fifteen members of the military have been sentenced to death in the past 25 years. Commanding generals commuted two of those sentences to life in prison and eight others were overturned on appeal. The president's involvement also sets military death-penalty cases apart. The president can commute any federal death sentence, civilian or military but must personally approve each military execution and sign an order to carry it out. "That's a political act,'' Silliman said. ''The president of the United States personally approving a death penalty is a political act.'' When President Bush signed Ronald Gray's execution order in July 2008, it was the first time a president had done so in 51 years.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Texas: Last Minute Clemency?

UPI reports Reginald Blanton is "hoping" that a commutation of sentence will enable him to avoid execution this wee, but doubts he will be that fortunate. Although he claims he is innocent, Blanton was convicted of robbery and murder of an individual in 2000. Gov. Perry has presided over 200 executions since he came to office. See story here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Texas: Pardon

This Dallas Morning News article discusses the recent pardon of James Lee Woodard, who spent 27 years in prison for a rape / murder that he did not commit. See addtional information on the pardon here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Texas: No Mercy

KDBC El Paso reports David Martinez, who is scheduled to be executed in Texas tonight, says he has no desire for clemency. Says Martinez, "I'm not asking for squat. Nobody's had more time to think about this. To me, it's definite." The 36-year old was convicted for a double murder, in 1994, when he beat his girlfriend and her 14-year old son to death with a baseball bat. See story here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Texas: Posthumous Pardon in the Works?

The Houston Chronicle is reporting on the case of Tim Cole, who was convicted of rape in 1985 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Cole claimed he was innocent and, last year, DNA from the crime scene proved that he was. The problem is that Cole died in prison 10 years ago. The Chronicle suggests the circumstances will lead to "the first posthumous DNA exoneration in Texas [paving] the way for a pardon by the governor and, eventually, expunging Cole’s record." See story here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Watch List: Texans? Or No Texans?

After PardonPower did an interview with the Houston Chronicle last week, several major papers in the State of Texas have headlined the fact that our Pardon Watch List contains the names of Major League Baseball pitching great Roger Clemens and former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling (see, for example, this article in today's Austin American Statesman). The Watch List also contains the name of another famous Texan, O. Henry, but we suppose no one cares much about dead guys any more.

Rusty Hardin, a middle-child lawyer who "shouted and pouted" but lost an Arthur Anderson case in 2002, represents Mr. Clemens. Hardin says the mere suggestion that Roger Clemens might be pardoned is "an insane invention of people who have too much time on their hands." This kind of language - no doubt, contributed to the New York Times' description of Hardin as an "entertainer." And Hardin proudly links to the article on his company's webpage.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Texas: 7 Pardons

Gov. Rick Perry has granted 7 pardons to individuals convicted for marijuana possession, burglary, making a terroristic threat and indecent contact with a child. The six men and one woman range in age from 32 to 79. For a complete list of those pardoned, go here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Texas: Rejection

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected the clemency plea of Denard Mann, convicted of rape and murder, clearing the way for his execution. He will be the 17th Texas inmate executed this year. See story here.

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