At one point, in March , Reed was set to be executed the day after Al Jazeera spoke to him from behind the plexiglass at a prison in Livingston, Texas. But the execution was stayed, pending a review into his case. In , Reed's lawyers had launched a bid to reopen an investigation into DNA collected at the crime scene that the lawyers said would exonerate him.
Texas's judicial authorities had long ignored calls to review what Reed's lawyers and forensic experts believe is overwhelming evidence that his conviction was wrongful. Reed, now 49, was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a year-old white woman. The forensic scientist who believed the DNA was the lynchpin in Reed's conviction has since reversed his opinion, documents seen by Al Jazeera show; he now believes, based on his own review with more up-to-date technology, that DNA found on the victim was from a consensual encounter well before her death.
And the lingering problems with race in our communities cannot be avoided where Mr Reed, a young African-American man, was dating a white woman who was murdered. It has taken years to untangle all of this and to discover the new and powerful evidence implicating another man in the murder," said Benjet. Fennell is currently serving a prison sentence for abducting and raping a woman while on duty.
Reflections on the killing of monsters*
The Texas Attorney General, which oversees executions, was not immediately available for comment at time of publication. Benjet says his client's case is emblematic of systemic problems, including significant racial bias, in the US criminal justice system. In the US, an overwhelming majority of prisoners on death row are people of colour. In one major example of racial disparity, Arkansas made headlines recently with a bid to execute eight people before the end of April because the state's lethal injection cocktail expires at the end of the month and has become increasingly difficult to obtain.
But only According to statistics from the Death Penalty Information Center DPIC , an organisation that researches capital punishment, more black Americans were sentenced to death in than any other ethnic group combined, with 17 new death sentences. Those new sentences were handed down amid a growing effort in the US to address rampant inequalities and persistent allegations of violence in the policing of black communities.
The Texas Death Penalty Term paper
That this bias shows up in death penalty cases should not surprise anyone. Some have expressed fears that racial disparities are unlikely to improve under US President Donald Trump's administration. Sessions has sought to review moves to reform problematic police departments across the nation, signed under the government of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. Harrington was moved to the chair.
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When the entire appeals process has been exhausted, the Governor of the State of Texas still may have a limited power to grant clemency to the prisoner. In capital cases, the Governor has the constitutional authority to grant an offender one day reprieve of a scheduled execution without a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Upon recommendation from the Board, the Governor may grant one or more reprieves in a capital case for any period of time that does not exceed the period recommended by the Board members 4. If the prisoner submits a timely request for a reprieve of execution, the Board must determine, by majority vote, whether to recommend to the Governor that a reprieve be granted.
Similarly, if a death row inmate files a timely petition to the Board for a commutation of sentence to a lesser punishment, such as life imprisonment, the Board will vote on whether to recommend the commutation to the Governor 5. Between and , Texas executed its death row prisoners by hanging.
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Then, from to , the electric chair became the legal means of execution. In , execution by lethal injection became the legal method of enacting the death penalty in Texas. The first prisoner executed by lethal injection in the United States took place in Texas in 6.