The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial and blog post on Tuesday praising the Texas Democratic Party's platform position on the death penalty and the need for a moratorium on executions and the creation of a “Capital Punishment Commission” to study the death penalty system, saying “a moratorium and other reforms adopted in the Democrats' state platform may help prevent a fatal error.”
Usually, the Dallas Morning News endorses the Republican in elections for Texas governor. This year may be different. I would think that if the Dallas Morning News decides to endorse Bill White this Fall, one of the reasons will be that they will expect him and the Democrats in the Legislature to enact the death penalty reforms listed in the TDP platform.
The blog post entitled “Texas Democrats strike right tone on death penalty” written by Assistant Editorial Page Editor Michael Landauer says:
“In its platform adopted last week, the Texas Democratic Party seems to have it right on capital punishment. The party does not go as far as we do. We want to abolish the death penalty in Texas. Democrats want to win elections. I get that. But the plank in the platform on Capital Punishment is a good place to start for lawmakers considering common-sense reforms that people on both sides could agree on”.
Consider that the courts have gotten it wrong – awfully wrong – in several cases. Men have walked off death row because they were able to show bogus charges, thin evidence, junk forensic work or shaky witnesses. It's still an open question whether an innocent person has died on the executioner's gurney.
A list of reforms to help safeguard against that possibility was included in the platform adopted last week by the Texas Democratic Party. Most should make sense even to Texans who support capital punishment but who are troubled by the ghastly thought of taking a life in error.