Monday, 4 August 2008

From the statement of Judge Price, CCA Texas

V. Executive Clemency

For all of the above reasons, this Court is not at liberty to stop the applicant's execution. But the Governor is. The applicant informs us that he has requested that the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommend to the Governor that he grant the applicant a 240-day reprieve so that there will be time for the proposed federal legislation to be considered in Congress. (15) Moreover, the Governor himself may grant a 30-day reprieve even absent a recommendation from the Board. (16) It would be an embarrassment and a shame to the people of Texas and the rest of the country (albeit not presently unconstitutional) if we were to execute the applicant despite our failure to honor the international obligation embodied in the Avena judgment when legislation may well be passed in the near future by which that obligation would become, not merely precatory, but legally (and retroactively) binding upon us. The Executive Branch most appropriately exercises its clemency authority when the judicial branch finds itself powerless to rectify an obvious and manifest injustice. This, I think, is such a situation, and I would urge the Board and the Governor to act.

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