Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun with forensics

Gov. Rick Perry's choice to head the Texas Forensic Science Commission received a slap in the face from the Austin Court of Appeal yesterday. Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey thinks the other members of the commission should have been pleased.

Almost twenty-three years ago Michael Morton was convicted of killing his wife in a fit of rage. A bloody bandana was found less than 100 yards away from the body. As Williamson County District Attorney, John Bradley fought for five years to avoid having to run DNA tests on the bandana.

“There are 155,000 inmates in Texas prisons,” he said. “Every single one would like to be somewhere else, and every single one under the standard (Raley) proposes would have the ability to test any piece of evidence they want. That's why the Legislature set up standards for post-conviction tests.”

A federal judge said he “questions (Bradley's) rationale for rejecting the plaintiff's offer to conduct DNA and other testing at their own expense, particularly in light of (his) duties to uphold the Constitution and seek and provide fair and impartial justice,” but it was a matter for the state.

And this is the man the fair-haired one thought would be a good person to preside over a committee reviewing the state of forensic sciences in Texas. This is the man who a Senate committee that he didn't think the commission needed to review past cases.

Needless to say, Mr. Bradley was unavailable for comment.

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