Texas’ Terrifying Justice System

In policy analysis, my semester-long analysis project is about civil asset forfeiture and the need to provide protection to “innocent owners.” In my research, I came across an excellent article by Radley Balko in Reason magazine. Balko’s story does not just recount Texas’ abuse of the policy, however, they are clearly one of the biggest offenders (See: Tenaha, TX*). Clearly, Texas has a problem when it comes to sanctioned stealing from minorities. Unfortunately, their ineptitude at justice is not limited to theft.

As I wrote about in August, Texas very likely executed an innocent man. It looks like they are about to do it again. As my man Radley Balko reports, Texas would rather risk executing an innocent person (again) than give a DNA test. This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence in death penalty cases (See: Actual Innocence and Surviving Justice). For a number of reasons, not one of them worth the state-sanctioned ending of an innocent human life, police, prosecutors, politicians, and others would rather close cases based on fiction than actually solve them with facts.

Hopefully, the work done thus far by the journalism students at Northwestern University’s Medill Innocence Project will not go to waste and Hank Skinner can get an opportunity for justice.

*The best thing about the Tenaha case: “District Attorney Lynda Kay Russell, whose district includes Tenaha, used forfeiture money to pay for tickets to a motorcycle rally and a Christmas parade. Russell is also attempting to use money from the forfeiture fund to pay for her defense against a civil rights lawsuit brought by several motorists whose property she helped take.”


About Sylvia Fredericks

Second-Year MPA student at the La Follette School for Public Affairs (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
This entry was posted in Ethics, National, News, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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