Monday, June 28, 2010

Texas Judge Schedules Hearing on Execution of Innocents

Texas State District Judge Kevin Fine set a hearing for November 8 to hear evidence on whether there's a substantial risk the state's death penalty law allows for the possible execution of an innocent person. The issue arose during pre-trial proceedings for John Edward Green Jr., accused of fatally shooting a Houston woman and wounding her sister during a June 2008 robbery.

Judge Fine initially granted a defense motion in March, declaring the Texas' death penalty law unconstitutional because he believed it is safe to assume innocent people have been executed. He also questioned whether society, considering the recent history of death row inmate exonerations, can continue to ignore this reality.

According to the Associated Press, the Harris County District Attorney's Office had filed a motion asking to remove Fine from the case, accusing him of being biased against capital punishment. But another judge appointed to review the motion denied the request in May, saying Fine's impartiality could not be reasonably questioned.

The November hearing could last at least two weeks and death penalty experts from around the country are expected to testify, according to Green's attorneys.

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