Todd Willingham was innocent and Texas executed him. Texas should halt all executions.
To: Texas Governor Rick PerryThe State of Texas should halt all executions in light of the news that the investigator hired by the Texas Forensic Science Commission has concluded that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was accidental and not arson. Willingham was executed for arson/murder in 2004. In fact, there was no arson, so there was no crime. Texas executed an innocent person.
Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles were provided a report written by fire expert Gerald Hurst before Willingham's execution that cast considerable doubt on the conclusion that the fire was arson. They both ignored Hurst's report. Now, they have a responsibility to take action to ensure that Texas does not execute another innocent person.
Governor Perry, you should urge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend stays for all people who currently have scheduled execution dates in Texas. You should also urge all district attorneys and judges in Texas to stop setting new execution dates and to withdraw all pending execution dates. You may not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose a moratorium, but you can act to create a consensus among judges, district attorneys and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop executions. As the Governor of this state, you have the duty to actively pursue and repair the flaws of a broken system.
The Texas system of carrying out executions must be suspended. The Texas system of carrying out executions must be suspended. Governor Perry, you should appoint a balanced and independent commission to examine all aspects of the Texas death penalty system to determine what went wrong in the Willingham case and how to prevent the execution of innocent people. Abolishing the death penalty is the only way to guarantee that another innocent person is never again executed, but a moratorium by consensus will prevent another innocent person from being executed in the short term until the Texas legislature is in session and can take up the issues raised by Texas' execution of an innocent person.
This petition was created and written by Texas Moratorium Network. If you have questions, call TMN at 512-961-6389. If you are shocked to learn that Texas has executed an innocent person, please attend the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24, 2009 in Austin, Texas.
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