The Houston Chronicle's Lisa Falkenberg asks: “Is Perry pulling a Nixon?“
It would be a dangerous political liability for any candidate: The possibility that, as governor, Rick Perry presided over the execution of an innocent man
Yet, that's the prospect raised in recent years by several arson experts and exhaustive national media reports in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Maintaining his innocence until the end, Willingham was executed in 2004 for the deaths of his three small children in a blaze that destroyed their Corsicana home in 1991.
As we have blogged about previously (see links to our coverage below), Perry has since fired the Chairman and other two members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission in order to cancel and postpone the meeting and save himself the potential of having an official state group rule that he executed an innocent man.
Paul Burka of Texas Monthly has more in his post, simply titled, “Cover-Up” —
The commission was going to hear a report from an arson expert that the investigation leading to the conviction and execution of Cameron Willingham for the murder of his three daughters was flawed. The case has received national attention because of the possibility that Texas executed an innocent man on Perry’s watch. The removal of the three members forced the cancellation of the meeting and prevented the report from being heard.
Let’s call this what it is: a cover-up. The new chairman, Williamson County district attorney John Bradley, is a political ally of Perry’s (see below) who famously tough on crime. It would be a conversion of mythic proportions if he were to agree with the investigators’ criticism. He now controls when the commission will meet, and you can bet that the report will not be heard or discussed in a public forum before the March 2 primary.
Rick Perry has no political shame, but this latest stunt is simply outrageous and completely unacceptable. I'd have a lot more worse things to say, but the Houston Chronicle's Lisa Falkbenberg says what needs to be said:
The governor's removal of dedicated public servants, apparently for being too diligent, too thorough, in revealing truths that happen to be inconvenient to his re-election bid, is an outrageous affront to the duties of his office.
Previous Coverage on BOR: