This is about the Willingham arson story I wrote about early last month, in which three different sets of arson investigators came to the conclusion that Todd Willingham had not set the fire that killed his children and for whose murders he was convicted. This meant that Texas had likely executed an innocent man. A new, more encompassing report was supposed to be issued by a Texas commission in 2010. But now there is a rather disturbing piece of news about the fate of that report.
I’ll let Scott Hensen of the Texas Watchdog blog, Grits for Breakfast, tell you:
It’d be hard to make this up; it seems more like caricature or some tale from days of yore out of Tammany Hall, but it’s actually today’s news: Governor Rick Perry has ousted the head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which had displeased him by soliciting what turned out to be damning expert opinion regarding the Cameron Todd Willingham case (in which supposedly expert arson testimony used to convict Willingham and justify his execution was later debunked by modern science). The case has drawn national attention since the release of expert testimony solicited by the commission followed by the publication of a widely cited New Yorker article last month.
As the new chair, Perry chose (of all people) Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, who prides himself on being one of the most outspoken proponents among Texas prosecutors of a sort of neoconservative, tough on crime philosophy. The Statesman called Bradley “a tough-on-crime politically connected conservative.” I’ve certainly heard him called worse! (Hi John!)
Bradley’s first act as chair? To cancel a hearing Friday where the Commission was scheduled to hear a report from experts they’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to analyze the science behind Todd Willingham’s conviction. No word on whether or if the public hearing might be rescheduled…..
Read the rest here. And the Grits site has plenty of links.