] In his five years as governor of Texas, the state has
] executed 131 prisoners -- far more than any other state.
] Mr. Bush has lately granted a stay of execution for the
] first time, for a DNA test.
] In answer to questions about that record, Governor Bush
] has repeatedly said that he has no qualms. "I'm
] confident," he said last February, "that every person
] that has been put to death in Texas under my watch has
] been guilty of the crime charged, and has had full access
] to the courts."
] That defense of the record ignores many notorious
] examples of unfairness in Texas death penalty cases.
] Lawyers have been under the influence of cocaine during
] the trial, or been drunk or asleep. One court dismissed a
] complaint about a lawyer who slept through a trial with
] the comment that courts are not "obligated to either
] constantly monitor trial counsel's wakefulness or
] endeavor to wake counsel should he fall asleep."
] This past week The Chicago Tribune published a compelling
] report on an investigation of all 131 death cases in
] Governor Bush's time. It made chilling reading.
] In one-third of those cases, the report showed, the
] lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at
] trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or
] otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented
] no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing
] phase of the trial.
And the article goes on to list even more facts about the lawyers and trials that are just stunningly abhorrent.
I think I'll pass on moving to Texas anytime soon.