Opponents of the death penalty in Texas, joined by the sister of a man who may have been executed for a murder he did not commit, have called on Texas officials to establish a commission to investigate claims that innocent prisoners have been put to death in the nation’s most aggressive death penalty state, reports the Chicago Tribune. “Texas officials never want to admit that they made a mistake,” said David Atwood of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He was responding to a Chicago Tribune series that uncovered evidence strongly suggesting that Carlos De Luna was put to death in 1989 for a murder committed by another man who later bragged that he was the killer.
Atwood, joined by Nicole Casarez, a journalism professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston who has researched suspected cases of wrongful executions, urged legislators to establish a special court of inquiry to review cases like De Luna’s as they come to light. There is no mechanism under Texas law to investigate such cases or pay compensation to the family of an inmate wrongfully executed, Casarez said. The Texas Legislature has shown little interest in the idea.