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More heat on Perry over the Forensic Science Commission

The Chicago Tribune provides further evidence that gutting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission was all about politics.

Just months before the controversial removal of three members of a state commission investigating the forensics that led to a Texas man’s 2004 execution, top aides to Gov. Rick Perry tried to pressure the chairman of the panel over the direction of the inquiry, the chairman has told the Tribune.

Samuel Bassett, whom Perry replaced on the Texas Forensic Science Commission two weeks ago, said he twice was called to meetings with Perry’s top attorneys. At one of those meetings, Bassett said he was told they were unhappy with the course of the commission’s investigation.

“I was surprised that they were involving themselves in the commission’s decision-making,” Bassett said. “I did feel some pressure from them, yes. There’s no question about that.”

You need to read the whole thing, because it just gets worse for our only Governor. Combine this with the Chron story from Sunday about Perry stonewalling attempts to release information about what he and his staff did with the report Gerald Hurst prepared prior to Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution, and there’s a whole lot of heat being brought. Sooner or later, something’s got to give.

Now turn the clock back to August, when the Beyler report was released, and imagine a world in which Governor Perry accepted its findings, admitted to his role in the wrongful execution, and gave a speech that said while he still believes in and is committed to the death penalty, he will now dedicate himself to making sure that the system works as it is supposed to so that we’ll never again need to ask these questions after an inmate is put to death. Do you think he’d be in a better position politically than he is now if he did that, or worse? It’s not a completely obvious question, since his first priority is the Republican primary, and the voters there don’t really care about trivia like this, but I don’t think this would cost him many votes with that crowd. It might even make him look statesmanlike, and would bolster him in the general election. Now, it’s certainly true that he can and indeed will be favored to prevail in both March and November next year even given his ham-handed behavior. But I don’t think history is going to be too kind to him at this point. Maybe he doesn’t care about that, I don’t know. All I can say is that if he does, it’s too late to do anything about it now. BOR, The Contrarian, Grits, and TPM have more.

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2 Comments

  1. DB says:

    I’m not a conservative Republican, as that term is defined in Texas, by any means. I am, however, a resident of Texas who can’t wait to get to the polls in the Republican primary and vote against Rick Perry. I want this guy gone.

  2. […] of his shenanigans with the Texas Forensic Science Commission have kept Governor Perry busy lately, but not so busy that he can’t mess with other things, […]