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Observer Podcast Episode 21: Capital Punishment

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On this episode of The Texas Observer podcast, we discuss Alex Hannaford’s recent piece about death row inmate Larry Swearingen then dive straight into the current state of capital punishment in Texas. Maurie Levin, an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, joins us for this episode.

Read “Is Larry Swearingen Innocent?

  • Beverly Margolis-Kurtin

    Oh hell, who cares if someone is innocent or not in Texas? If someone is found guilty of a capital offense, let’s just drag the individual out the door and march ’em up thirteen steps and hang ’em right there and then. If a jury finds someone guilty, than dang it, they’re guilty regardless of unimportant stuff like facts or things like that, after all, the JURY FOUND THE PERSON GUILTY and right here in good ‘ole Texas, that’s good enough for our legal system. It doesn’t make any difference if the person in question was in another country when the deed was done, damnit, a JURY found him/her/it/whatever GUILTY, innocence is not a possibility.
    Talking ’bout juries, it makes no difference whether or not if the jurors have an education of any kind or are easily swayed by someone stronger then they are and can twist their arm to change their vote of innocent to guilty or just have a problem keeping their knuckles from dragging on the ground, If the voir dire went badly those kinds DO get on our Texas juries; I’ve served with some of ’em and believe me, some of them were downright SCARY. They wanted to free someone on their own recognizance who had abused his family because “well, the guy can’t afford bail.” He wound up in the country lock up because I wasn’t about to leave a monster free to roam around.
    It is not known how totally innocent people our wonderful state has put to death but even ONE is one too many especially when the person is convicted on EYE WITNESS testimony, the proven worst kind of identification! The only exception is when a person was at work, surrounded by co-workers, but was still found guilty because the police “have their person” and don’t want to “waste their time” looking for someone else who really did perform the deed. It has happened more than once and will continue to happen.
    For those who want proof, just look at how many innocent people have been set free over the past decade or so. But how do you set a dead person free from a wrongly convicted individual who has already been executed?