TX Forensic Science Panel Changes Provoke Political Debate


For Democrats, it was an ah-ha moment, a suggestion that by abruptly removing three members of a forensic science commission Texas Gov. Rick Perry was trying to derail an investigation into a case raising the disturbing possibility Texas may have executed an innocent man, reports the Houston Chronicle. Political junkies spent yesterday trying to decode Perry’s decision to remove three political appointees from a once-obscure commission looking into the investigation of a 1991 fire that killed three children, for which their father was executed.

Perry described the new appointments as “pretty normal protocol” prompted by the fact that the former members’ terms expired three weeks ago. “If you’ve got a whole new investigation going forward, it makes a lot more sense to put the new people in now and let them start the full process, rather than having people in there for a short period of time and then replacing them,” he said. That didn’t stop people from speculating on his motives and what impact, if any, the action might have on the gubernatorial campaign in a state where surveys show most voters support the death penalty. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, running against Perry in the Republican primary, called the action “both disappointing and disturbing.”

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