CCA Judge Backs Moratorium
Price's comments came on the heels of the Board of Pardons and Paroles' denial of clemency for Dominique Green, executed Tuesday night for a 1992 Houston murder. (The board voted 6-0 to deny clemency and 5-1 to deny a commutation, with Panhandle attorney Charles Aycock dissenting.) Price was the lone dissenting vote last week when the CCA denied Green's request for a stay of execution based on the problems plaguing the Houston lab. Green was 18 when he was convicted for the robbery and shooting death; Green has admitted taking part in the robbery but denies that he was the shooter. Ballistics tests from the HPD lab allegedly tied Green to the murder. On Tuesday, a federal district judge stayed Green's execution, citing problems with the HPD lab's handling of evidence, but the state got the reprieve lifted by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Not surprisingly, Harris Co. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal told the daily that his office has "carefully reviewed" lab evidence in Green's case and those of six other Harris Co. defendants set to be executed in the next five months, and said that he is "sure" about the accuracy of the evidence against the condemned men. This despite the fact that Houston police recently discovered 280 boxes of evidence, connected to nearly 8,000 criminal cases, that had been mislabeled; so far only 25% of the evidence has been reviewed. Still, the idea that the state may be poised to execute inmates for crimes they didn't commit doesn't appear to bother Harris Co. prosecutor Roe Wilson, who handled Green's case. She sent an investigator to "visually look at" the gun and bullet that the state says tie Green to the murder and that, apparently, is enough for her. "The criminal justice system cannot stop for a year," she said.