In the upcoming issue of The New Yorker is a piece by reporter David Grann that looks at the Willingham case inside and out. Mr. Grann's portrait of incompetence and intellectual dishonesty casts the blame for Mr. Willingham's murder by lethal injection far and wide.
While he castigates Deputy State Fire Marshal Manuel Vasquez for his junk science, laziness and perjured testimony and Mr. Willingham's court-appointed attorneys for their (shall we say) failure to provide a vigorous defense, Mr. Grann provides a haunting look at the hell Mr. Willingham endured during his years on death row.
The article also makes me wonder how much longer we will have to put up with pseudo-scientific evidence such as bite mark analysis, handwriting analysis, tire tread analysis and all the other expert testimony that is "more art than science." When will our judiciary finally understand that criminal trial work is not merely an academic exercise? How many times will we have to hear the Court of Criminal Appeals state that factual innocence alone is insufficient to overturn a conviction? When will our lawmakers realize that the death penalty never has been, and never will be, an effective deterrent?
How many more innocent men have been murdered in the death house in Huntsville?