Since 1992, the official stance of Texas (and the U.S. Supreme Court) was that (f)actual innocence is not a bar to execution. In arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, assistant Texas Attorney General Margaret Griffey argued that it was not a violation of the Eighth Amendment for Texas to execute a man they knew was innocent.
Now, in response to a question from Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenburg, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, stated that executing an innocent citizen would be a "miscarriage of justice."
Of course, just last month the state argued against Larry Swearingen's claim of actual innocence before the 5th Court of Appeals on the grounds that he had missed the deadline to file his claim.
So, is it okay to execute an innocent man or not?
- Innocent plea needs court hearing (Houston Chronicle, Jan. 26, 2009)