August 15, 2007

Innocent Man Sentenced to Death Under Cruel Texas Law

From The Brooklyn Rail via Alternet:

On Tuesday, August 7, in a six-to-three decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his final writ of habeas corpus, giving the legal green light for his execution. Foster, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on August 30, is now at the mercy of the merciless Board of Pardons and Paroles. The odds are bad. Five out of seven board members must recommend clemency before Governor Rick Perry will consider it -- and in a state that has executed nearly 400 people in thirty years, clemency has only been granted twice. But Foster's supporters, who are spearheading a letter-writing campaign to the board and governor, are relying on one particularly salient detail to move their minds, if not their hearts: Foster didn't kill anyone.


Foster was convicted under Texas's "law of parties," a twist on a felony murder statute that enables a jury to convict a defendant who was not the primary actor in a crime. This can mean sentencing someone to death even if he or she had no proven role in a murder.


So in Texas, and apparently most states that still have the death penalty, you can get a death sentence for NOT killing someone, NOT knowing about it, and NOT intending it to happen, just UKNOWINGLY helping it happen.

When a lawyer wants to get an accomplice convicted like this, they bring the jury in to decide whether the defendant "should have known" a murder would take place.

Texas: the big fat, lone star, fascist state.

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