In nearly nine years as Texas governor, Rick Perry has never spared a life based on a claim of innocence and only once delayed an execution in such a case, the Houston Chronicle reports. During that same period, officials in other death penalty states granted clemency for humanitarian reasons at least 200 times – 171 based on questions of innocence in Illinois alone.
Texas has executed 200 convicts under Perry’s watch. He has spared just one condemned man’s life in a case in which he was not compelled to do so by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, the inmate Perry saved in 2007 was not a killer but the admitted driver of a getaway car, condemned alongside the triggerman in a joint trial under Texas’ tough “law of parties.” Perry has come under fire for his rapid dismissal of a clemency request from Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in 2004. Perry defended his clemency review process as careful and thorough.