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View Diary: "An Absolute Monster" – Governor Rick Perry (156 comments)

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  •  Comment and question on legal process (8+ / 0-)

    The diary states:

    Just now, a Texas judge has ruled to convene a Court of Inquiry to investigate flawed arson evidence used by the State to execute a man for killing his three young children in a house fire.

    The Willingham case deserves a thorough review. Perry's machinations with the forensic science commission are ridiculous.

    Now, a question:

    Is Baird gathering evidence that he may use to petition for a court of inquiry, or he is actually conducting the court of inquiry?

    Texas law states:

    Art. 52.01. COURTS OF INQUIRY CONDUCTED BY DISTRICT JUDGES.  (a) When a judge of any district court of this state, acting in his capacity as magistrate, has probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed against the laws of this state, he may request that the presiding judge of the administrative judicial district appoint a district judge to commence a Court of Inquiry. The judge, who shall be appointed in accordance with Subsection (b), may summon and examine any witness in relation to the offense in accordance with the rules hereinafter provided, which procedure is defined as a "Court of Inquiry".

    (b)(1) Before requesting the presiding judge to appoint a district judge to commence a Court of Inquiry, a judge must enter into the minutes of his court a sworn affidavit stating the substantial facts establishing probable cause that a specific offense has been committed against the laws of this state.

    (2) After the affidavit has been entered into the minutes of his court and a copy filed with the district clerk, the judge shall request the presiding judge of the administrative judicial district in which the affidavit is filed to appoint a judge to commence the Court of Inquiry. The judge appointed to commence the Court of Inquiry shall issue a written order commencing the Court of Inquiry and stating its scope. The presiding judge shall not name the judge who requests the Court of Inquiry to preside over the Court of Inquiry.

    It seems Judge Baird is holding a hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to support a request to the presiding judge of the administrative judicial district appoint a district judge to commence a Court of Inquiry.

    •  Very good question (9+ / 0-)

      and I tried endlessly to find that answer. What I do know is that this hearing is scheduled for two days. The DA's office tried to get Baird to recuse himself. Baird put the decision off for 1 week, and today when I listened live, Baird said he decided to "move forward." If you listen to the hearing, Barry Scheck is testifying on the botched arson evidence as well as the new, independent evidence.

      So it looks to me, if evidence is being presented, then they're moving forward. Please let me know what you think.

      We've got to fight their millions of dollars with millions of our voices. - Pres. Barack Obama

      by RhodaA on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 01:29:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This may help (6+ / 0-)

      Judge refuses recusal request; Willingham inquiry under way

      State District Judge Charlie Baird ruled today that the Navarro County District Attorney R. Lowell Thompson did not have standing to seek Baird’s recusal in an inquiry into whether Cameron Todd Willingham was wrongly executed in 2004.

      Baird said that Thompson is not a party to the lawsuit, in which Williingham’s surviving relatives are seeking a declaration that he was wrongfully convicted of arson murder in the 1991 deaths of his three young daughters.

      As he left the court Thompson said he was heading to Austin’s 3rd Court of Appeals to seek a writ of mandamus to stop Baird from conducting the hearing.
      Meanwhile, inside Baird’s court, Willingham family lawyer Gerald Goldstein gave an opening statement summarizing the case. Witnesses are expected to follow.

      http://www.statesman.com/...

      We've got to fight their millions of dollars with millions of our voices. - Pres. Barack Obama

      by RhodaA on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 01:40:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we have an answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        http://www.austinchronicle.com/...

        An inquiry into whether Texas executed an innocent man in 2004 when it put to death Cameron Todd Willingham is set to resume today (Thursday). The hearing was put on hold last week after District Judge Charlie Baird  said he would wait for lawyers representing Willingham's surviving relatives to respond to a motion – from Navarro County District Attorney Lowell Thompson – seeking to recuse Baird from hearing the case at all. Baird is likely to rule today on that motion. (Regardless of whether he grants or denies the motion, Baird's decision will move forward to the region's presiding judge, Williamson County Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield, for review.)

        And then this:

        The presiding judge of the 3rd Administrative Judicial Region, which includes Baird’s court, is Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield of Williamson County. Brenda Wilburn, a spokeswoman for the administrative district, said nothing was filed regarding the court of inquiry by late Tuesday.

        http://www.defrostingcoldcases.com/...

        What is missing from the other coverage is the news that the presiding judge of the state's Third Administrative District (in this case, Billy Ray Stubblefield) has authorized a court of inquiry and appointed Baird to conduct such an inquiry.

        Thus, it seems that Baird must only be gathering evidence to support his request to the presiding administrative judge for a court of inquiry. Either that, or Baird is conducting an "unauthorized" court of inquiry.

        It shouldn't be so hard to establish this basic fact.

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