website; the guy in the pic is Harris County Judge Kevin Fine. In a rarely seen act of political profile in courage this good judge declared the procedures around the Texas Death Penalty unconstitutional. The excerpt is from Brian Roger's article at the Chronicle:
"When asked direct questions Thursday about his ruling, Fine said he was declaring the death penalty unconstitutional because he believes innocent people have been executed. Friday, Fine clarified that he declared the procedures Texas has in place to carry out the death penalty unconstitutional, a legal parsing even to the prosecutors trying the case.
'As a practical matter, if you strike down that statute, you're not necessarily striking down ‘the death penalty' but you're striking down the way we try death penalty cases,' said Bill Exley, an assistant Harris County district attorney. 'So the effect is that you can't have a death penalty because you can't get there.'
Exley and Assistant District Attorney Kari Allen are pursuing the death penalty for Green in the robbery and fatal shooting of Huong Thien Nguyen, 34, on June 16, 2008. Police said she and her sister, My Huong Nguyen, had returned to their home in the 6700 block of Bellaire Gardens about 1:20 a.m. when Green approached them, demanded money and shot them.Green's lawyers, Bob Loper and Casey Keirnan, heralded the decision as the 'beginning of the end of the death penalty.'
'We don't necessarily think we're the ones who will make this happen. But it certainly is a chink in their armor. This is going to raise everyone's consciousness,' Loper said. 'It appears as though it's going to go up on appeal. It certainly has people talking.'
If Fine's ruling were to be upheld, it effectively would take away the option of the death penalty in Green's case.Most legal commentators said the ruling wouldn't stand up at the appellate level.
Can you believe it, a Texas Judge who doesn't want to be reelected!
Wow, someone with judicial power in Texas who actually gives a damn whether innocent people get executed. I'm pinching myself.
God bless, Judge Fine!