Independent Christian Voice

Monday

Texas executed innocent man?

From the Associated Press (via cbsnews.com):
A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, wasn't even with him that night. The victim was shot nine times with a rifle during an attempted robbery before the gunman unloaded more rounds into the only witness. That witness, Juan Moreno, told the Houston Chronicle for its Sunday editions that Cantu wasn't the killer. Moreno said he only identified him at the 1985 trial because he felt pressured and was afraid of authorities. The doubts now being raised come too late for Cantu. He had long professed his innocence but was executed in Texas on Aug. 24, 1993, at the age of 26. [more]
This reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Boston Legal, in which Alan Shore (played by James Spader) made an impassioned, poignant plea for a man's life in a death penalty appeal before the Texas High Court. Here's a snippet from that episode:
ALAN SHORE: I am here. With all due respect, may it please the court, because I have a problem with the State executing a man with diminished capacity. Who may very well be innocent. I’m particularly troubled, may it please the court, with all due respect, that you don’t have a problem with it. You may not want to regard my client’s innocence, but you cannot possibly disregard the fact that 117 wrongfully convicted people have been saved from execution in this country. 117! The system is hardly foolproof. And Texas! This state is responsible for a full third of all executions in America. How can that be? The criminals are just somehow worse here? Last year you accounted for fully half of the nation’s executions. 50% from 1 State! You cannot disregard the possibility, the possibility that something’s up in Texas. JUDGE LANCE ABRAMS: I would urge you to confine your remarks to your client, and not the good state of Texas. ALAN SHORE: Zeke Borns never had a chance. He was rounded up as a teenager, thrown in a cell while he was still doped up on drugs, brow-beaten and interrogated, until his IQ of 80 was overcome, he confessed to a crime he had no memory of, still has no memory of, for which there is no evidence, other than two witnesses who saw him pumping gas around the time of the murder. He was given a coked-up lawyer, who admittedly did nothing. I’m now before 9 presumably intelligent people in the justice business, who have the benefit of knowing all of this. Add to that, you know DNA places somebody else at the scene, and you’re indifferent! You don’t care! Whether you believe in my client’s innocence, and I’ll assume, with all due respect, may it please the court that you don’t! You cannot be sure of his guilt! You simply cannot! And failing that. How can you kill him? How can you kill him? > Watch video clip.

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