Saturday, 3 October 2009

Rick Perry May have Violated Federal Law in Willingham Execution

Glenn Smith has a significant observation: Rick Perry may have violated federal law when he obstructed the investigation into the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. The U.S. Justice Department is deadly serious about oversight of forensics investigations, and warned grant recipients that federal law -- specifically, U.S.C. 18.1001, would apply to grant recipients if the independence and integrity of forensics oversight was jeopardized.
When Gov. Rick Perry obstructed an investigation into the execution of a man experts say was innocent, he committed a crime against all Texans. State executions are carried out in our names, collectively and individually. Subverting the truth in such a matter is a betrayal of the public trust that is difficult to describe or comprehend.

But Perry may have also committed a crime against the U.S., and I'm not talking about his secession threats. He may have violated federal law, U.S.C. 18.1001. This is no trivial matter. An innocent man was executed. Federal laws and guidelines are in place to keep that from happening. Perry may well have violated those laws and guidelines, for which there are criminal penalties.

Smith goes into many more details and sites observations from pundits and statute. Perry at best showed he was unfit to govern any agency let alone Texas. At worst, he willingly covered up an ongoing investigation in the execution of an innocent man. As Glenn puts it, he "destroy[ed] the independence and integrity of a critical law enforcement agency to conceal material facts".

Justice should be done, even if it hasn't been in the case of Mr. Willingham.


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