As long as the Justice system in Texas is not doing its job, Supreme Court should Stay all executions.

English: Allan B. Polunsky Unit Español: Unida...

English: Allan B. Polunsky Unit Español: Unidad Allan B. Polunsky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a very important thing in a democracy to have a fair and honest Justice System. Like all systems a Justice System has its mistakes. That is unfortunate, especially in Death Penalty cases. In some cases it’s absolutely sure that a suspect is the murderer. In other cases a verdict is based on circumstantial evidence. There is no real evidence. These are the cases where the justice system often goes wrong, especially in Texas.

No State has as many executions as Texas. No State even comes close. There are two reasons for that. One is that Texas has the ‘law of parties’ which says that if you’re involved in a crime in which someone else kills a person, you are just as responsible for that as the murderer. You’re going to steal candy, you don’t even know the person who joins you has a gun, he shoots someone and you end up on Death Row. Because of this law there are more people on Death Row in Texas than in other States, because everyone involved will probably end up there.

There is another reason why Texas executes more people than other States. And that is something to worry about. There are enough cases that prove that the prosecutors and the entire Justice System in Texas are more focused on closing a case and finding someone guilty than on finding the right one guilty. There are examples where the Justice System in Texas went completely wrong and instead of a thorough investigation to make sure those mistakes will never happen again, Texas prefers to not comment on it. Circumstantial evidence is often so thin that pretty much any other Justice System would release the suspects. But not in Texas. Texas wants to execute them.

If I would have to write about everything I think is wrong with the Justice System in Texas this would be the longest blog post ever. Structural bad representation for those who never had a chance in life anyway, racial issues, there are so many things wrong that I sometimes wonder why Amnesty International hasn’t got its headquarters in Texas yet. In this post I will give a couple examples of cases that prove that Texas is not even trying to get it right.

Famous is the Cameron Todd Willingham case. For those who don’t know the case, Willingham is dead. He was executed in 2004. Convicted for the murder of his three kids by arson in 1991. A local Texas Justice guy who knew little about arson testified it was arson. Pretty much all other experts said it was not. Later, but still before the execution, arson experts were even able to disprove arson. Their report was on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s desk as he gave the green light for the execution. A couple of days after the execution the Prosecutor who got him convicted said “I know there was not that much evidence but he was a bad man, he listened to heavy metal” and he also said “I think he might have done it.” That is probably what they call “beyond reasonable doubt” in Texas.

The execution took place in an election year and with the Texas hardcore pro-Death Penalty population, Rick Perry probably didn’t want to stop it, even though he had scientific proof on his desk that Willingham didn’t do anything wrong. He was a father who lost three kids because of a fire, and now he also lost his own life because of it. A committee was installed to investigate this execution and one day before the committee was going to release their findings, Rick Perry fired the entire committee and never spoke about the case again. It’s pretty much a confession.

There are a lot of inmates on Death Row in Texas, waiting for execution. Some are guilty beyond any doubt, but there are many examples of inmates who’s guilt was never really proven. I am not saying they are all innocent but that is not the question. The question is if their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The Hank Skinner case might be the most famous one. Skinner spent the last 17 years on Death Row for the murder of his girlfriend and her two children. Skinner claims to be innocent. He says he was drunk from a mix of alcohol and medicine, slept on the couch while they were murdered and woke up in a crime scene. Skinner had a wound on his hand, which could be from the murder, but also from any other thing that from time to time happens to all of us. Who has never had a wound?

In the time the murder occurred there was no such thing as DNA testing but ever since there is DNA testing the Skinner Defense team has been asking for a test for more than ten years. Texas refused to test over and over again. Skinner has at one point been twenty minutes from execution, already had his last meal before the Supreme Court stayed the execution. After a long battle in court, Texas was ordered to test all the evidence. It is not a surprise that Skinner’s DNA was found on a lot of things in the house where the murders took place. He lived there. But for ten years Skinner has been claiming that certain clothes, among which a jacket with a lot of blood on it,didn’t belong to him and therefore must have had someone else’s DNA on it. And guess what?

Texas had all the evidence ready to be tested, all things of which it would be no surprise if Skinners DNA was on it because he lived in the house. But exactly those clothes, the key evidence that Skinner has claimed could prove someone else was involved, were ‘lost’ by the Texas Justice system. Skinner fought for ten years to have exactly those things tested and once a judge finally ordered that everything had to be tested, Texas could provide everything, except the things Skinner had asked for all those years.

Is that a coincidence? Is it bad luck? I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories but this is too ridiculous to believe. They never wanted to test and now they were forced to and they still had all the stuff of which it was likely to have Skinners DNA on it anyway, but the key parts, with blood on them, were all of a sudden lost. But Skinner’s fingerprints were found on the door of his own house, therefore Texas still wants to execute him.

Another case. Robert Gene Will. Sent to Death Row for the murder of a Police Officer. Rob Will and another man were caught trying to break into a car. Rob Will never had an ideal childhood, but his accomplice was the son of a Police Officer. Both were caught while committing the crime. The Police Officers Radio log suggests that Rob Will was handcuffed and In custody, ten seconds later shots were fired, the police officer died.

Even though there is zero forensic evidence, it is likely that either Rob Will or his friend was the shooter. But which one was it? It’s hard to know although if one person is handcuffed, It makes more sense that the other one would be the shooter. Rob Will claims his friend shot the police Officer, then shot a bullet through Will’s handcuffs to set him free (Will had a wound on his hand) after which they left the scene.

Even though it’s obvious that one of the two men is the murderer, there is no way to determine which one. They blame each other. No evidence for anything and although logic suggests it was the other one, there is no proof. And as I write this Rob Will is on Death Row and his accomplice is probably having a coffee at Starbucks. Remember, his accomplice was the son of a police officer and just for once, by coincidence, Texas forgot about their ridiculous law of parties which makes them both equally liable for it. A police officer was murdered by either Rob Will or by the son of another Police Officer. The son of the police officer is a free man, Rob Will is on Death Row. Justice?

There are many more case like this. Check out Darlie Routier. A woman on Death Row, convicted for murdering her own kids. The Prosecution showed the jury a video in which she was singing and dancing two weeks after the murder while she was celebrating the birthday one of the kids would have had that day. That was the key evidence in the case. She seemed to be happy. The prosecution also had other video’s on which she was repeatedly seen crying on the graveyard, but the prosecution chose not to show those video’s. Jurors would later say they had been totally misled by the Prosecution.

I can go on forever. There are too many examples, it’s impossible to mention them all.

The thing that worries me is that in most Death Penalty cases in America, there is not so much doubt if they have the right one. We can discuss if the Death Penalty is good or not, that’s a different issue. But nowhere are there so many cases with serious doubts, where the behavior of Prosecutors is so ignorant, where they don’t even try to get it right, as there are in Texas. They just don’t care.

The law of parties is a law for everyone, except for the son of a police officer. Texas refuses to do DNA testing and once forced to, they lost the most important things that had to be tested. Prosecutors have an enormous amount of videos showing very emotional footage of a mother crying over the loss of her children. They didn’t show it. They showed the three minutes they had when she wasn’t crying. Arson experts disprove arson, but it’s an election year so no one dares to stop the execution. Who cares?

A Justice System should try to get it right. Prosecutors who are not sure if a suspect is guilty should either look for more evidence or drop the case. Not try to manipulate a case and get someone convicted who may very well be innocent. A Justice System is there to do Justice. Not to find everybody guilty.

In Texas it seems to be more important to find someone guilty than to find the right one guilty. In Texas Prosecutors say, a couple days after an execution, that the inmate who was executed might have been guilty.

And as long as the entire culture of the Texas Justice System doesn’t change, the Supreme Court should automatically stay all executions that Texas wants to carry out. Because there is proof beyond reasonable doubt, that at this moment, the Texas Justice System can’t be trusted with anything.


The only chance for the GOP to survive is to get rid of the Tea Party

Now that the elections are over and ended in the landslide that could have been expected, it’s time to move on. It’s time to realize we are all American, who almost all want the best for our country.

English: Sarah Palin at the Americans for Pros...

English: Sarah Palin at the Americans for Prosperity-run Wisconsin 2011 Tax Day Tea Party Rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what happened yesterday might change American politics forever. Because it is very clear that if the GOP ever wants to have a Republican President in the White House again, they will need to change a lot of things first.

Political games of trying to stop people from voting all backfired. There are so many reports of Tea Party politicians who did everything they could to make sure people waiting in line couldn’t get access to simple things like water. We’ve seen robocalls organized by Tea Party activists trying to send voters to the wrong voting location. We’ve seen so many tricks that made it more difficult for certain groups to be allowed to vote and all those tricks were meant to hurt those who tend to vote Democratic. And they all backfired.

Because by trying all they could to stop people from voting, they activated the Democratic base better than any Democrat could have ever done. People got an attitude that no one was gonna take their right to vote away and the harder it got for them to vote, the longer they had to wait, the more determined they were to do it. These elections proved that voter suppression will not work any longer. It backfired. And that is a good thing. A good thing for Democrats, but also for decent Republicans. But there is more.

The Tea Party tried to take the GOP over by attacking moderate Republicans and replacing them by Tea Party candidates. All those Tea Party candidates lost yesterday. It’s probably the clearest message ever given to the Tea Party. Moderate Republicans and independent voters refuse to vote for Tea Party candidates. All their efforts, all their money, all their manipulation, it helped nothing. Their extreme ideas resulted in a landslide for the Democrats.

I just saw a Tea Party spokeswoman on TV claiming the problem has been that Romney was too moderate. And I can’t stop shaking my head. How dumb can a person be? Moderate Republicans didn’t lose yesterday, Tea extremists lost. A lot of decent Republicans don’t agree with many things the President did, but they don’t want a country based on hate, they don’t want a society in which one party tries to make sure voters from the other party won’t be allowed to vote. They want to criticize a President on the issues instead of criticizing him for the sake of criticizing. They don’t want to hear false claims about Obama’s birth certificate, they’re not bigots, They don’t want to force others to live by their religious rules, they want freedom for all, not for some. It’s those Republicans that still are the majority, but they have been awfully quiet while extremists took their party over. And they better hurry up taking it back, because if they don’t act real soon, they might be too late.

The electorate is changing. More and more people, especially from minority groups, who used to stay home on Election day, start turning up to vote. More and more see and believe that their vote actually does matter. America doesn’t change, the difference is that the group of people who actually vote becomes more and more representative for what America actually is.

It has been said a lot. If everybody would vote in her or his best interest, the GOP wouldn’t have had a President in the last decades. It used to be the case that some were so uninformed that they voted against their own interest, but more important, a lot of people didn’t vote for their own interest, because they didn’t vote at all.

That seems to be history. More and more young people, women and minorities show up on election day and while writing it I wonder why we still call it the minority vote. It’s the American vote, the only difference is that more and more Americans join the Democratic process.

And that is something to worry about for Republicans, who didn’t even try to get those groups to vote for them. The time that white middle aged men decided what happened in our country is over. We all decide now. We all have access to a lot of information now, we can all check the facts ourselves, and as it looks, we all want to vote.

And that America, in which we are all equal is the reason why some people gathered in the Tea Party. They will never say it, but they don’t want that kind of America. They want an America where men are working and women are at home, taking care of the kids. They will not admit it but they have a feeling that it’s not good that minorities can decide who is President and who is not. They obviously hate gays and people who don’t share their interpretation of a religion. And you’re only entitled to freedom if your interpretation of freedom is exactly the same as theirs. And there is no negotiation about anything. Either you’re with them, or you’re not a Patriot.

The elections showed us that the Tea Party in fact is the minority. Most people don’t want to have anything to do with them. And that will only get worse.  More and more people who want to live a life that the Tea Party disapproves of, will come out and vote. More and more new voters will join the Democratic process and almost none of them will agree with Tea Party values. And that’s a big problem for the GOP.

While the electorate will get more and more moderate, you don’t want to get more and more extreme. And even though President Obama did a great job the last four years, the decent GOP would have had a good chance to beat him. But not this GOP, because they don’t relate to the average voter.

This has been Romney’s problem. He had to go so far to the right to satisfy Tea extremists who paid his campaign, that normal people didn’t want to vote for him. Republicans lost Senate seats and in almost all cases because Tea candidates lost their campaigns. They may relate to 10% of the people, but the other 90% from left to decent right, are out of reach for them. A moderate Republican has way more in common with Obama than with Bachmann.

If the GOP wants to survive they will have to relate to the new electorate. People from all races, from all religions, who all want to live a good and happy life without a bunch of zealots telling them what they can and can’t do. And relating to that new electorate is impossible as long as those who hate that new electorate are the ones who pay your campaign.

Politicians always say they are not afraid to make big choices. And this is one the GOP needs to make. Either they continue to obey the Tea Party and by doing so, accept that their role will be minimalized to some red States or throw the extremists out, return to humanity and to the way the GOP used to be.

It’s up to the GOP whether they want to have a future or whether they prefer to continue their hate till the end. And in that case the end will probably come sooner than later.