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John Bradley to Face Senators on Monday

Controversial chair of the Forensic Science Commission comes before Nominations Committee
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On Monday, the state’s most controversial prosecutor will stand trial himself.

John Bradley—Williamson County DA and chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission—will have his state Senate confirmation hearing on Monday morning before the Nominations Committee. (The committee hearing notice was just posted today.)

The Senate must approve the governor’s appointments, and Bradley is no different. He will likely win Senate confirmation. Nearly all appointees do—even the most controversial. (In recent years, only former State Board of Education Chair Don McLeroy was rejected by the Senate.) Still, Bradley will likely hear a good bit of criticism during his confirmation process.  

He has many critics inside and outside the Capitol, and he’s garnered a reputation as one of the most ornery public servants in the state.

His very appointment in late September 2009 was controversial. Bradley took over as part of a house-cleaning of the Forensic Science Commission by Gov. Rick Perry. Bradley promptly canceled a hearing on flawed arson evidence in the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Critics accused the governor of a coverup and trying to stall the Willingham investigation.

In the past 18 months, Bradley has repeatedly hampered the commission’s work on the Willingham case. In fact, the inquiry has proceeded only because the rest of the commission openly revolted against Bradley’s attempts to short-circuit the investigation. At meetings, he’s badgered witnesses and condescended to other commissioners. At times, he’s seemingly been skeptical of the commission’s very existence.

On Monday morning, senators and the public will get their chance to critique Bradley’s performance. It should be quite the show.

Dave Mann has been with the Observer since 2003. Before that, he worked as a reporter in Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Philadelphia. He thinks border collies are the world’s greatest dogs, and believes in the nourishing powers of pickup basketball.