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Officer's killer is put to death

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Michelle Mondo reports for the Houston Chroncle:

Singing to God, praising Yahweh and even asking Jesus to torment District Attorney Susan Reed so "she, too, finds the Lord," convicted cop killer Frank Garcia was loud just before his execution Thursday -- but he was not repentant.

His last statement began before all the witnesses were in the death chamber, and at no point during a rambling 10-minute speech did he apologize for or even mention the 2001 fatal shooting of San Antonio Police Officer Hector Garza, which landed Garcia on death row.
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Laura Andersen, who said she has become good friends with Garza's widow, said Garcia's last words weren't what she expected.

"I've always seen him to be more stoic," she said. When asked about Garcia not showing any remorse she said, "It only confirmed that the state made the right decision."

On Thursday afternoon, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a request for a stay of execution and last-minute appeal, issuing a two-page order just after 11 a.m. that stated Garcia's lawyers didn't meet the burden of proof in showing that he meets criteria for mental retardation.

A dissent by three judges stated that because a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could affect the Texas appeals process, the court should have granted a stay until the high court makes its ruling.

The CCA dissent says,

Since granting review in Martinez, the Supreme Court has stayed the execution of several condemned Texas inmates who argued, as does the applicant today, that the ineffectiveness of initial state habeas counsel with respect to an issue that may be raised for the first time only in a post-conviction application for writ of habeas corpus proceeding ought to justify allowing the inmate to raise that issue for the first time in a subsequent writ application.
However, later that day, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari and a stay.  No dissent is noted.  Maybe that's a good sign for the Martinez case.

3 Comments

The dissent was willing to do SCOTUS' dirty work (i.e., stay a case where the guy had had his full panoply of review), and for that matter with respect to a last minute filing. That the Supreme Court sees fit to issue abusive stays (Cleve Foster has to set some sort of record) doesn't mean that other jurists ought to follow suit. In fact, the mere fact of a stay is irrelevant, since there is no written explanation of why it was granted and thus no real law to follow. If the TCCA dissenters want to follow real law, as opposed to making life easier for the Court, then perhaps they can take a look at the case law discussing the state's (and victims' family's) interest in the finality of capital judgments.

The most persuasive words on the last page of the dissent were its final three: "DO NOT PUBLISH."

At least the dissenters put their reasoning in writing--which far surpasses what SCOTUS has done with some of these abusive stays.

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