NEW VOICES: Former Texas Governor Now Expresses Doubts About Death Penalty

Mark White, a former governor of Texas and strong supporter of the death penalty, recently expressed serious reservations about the practice in Texas.  "There is a very strong case to be made for a review of our death penalty statutes and even look at the possibility of having life without parole so we don’t look up one day and determine that we as the State of Texas have executed someone who is in fact innocent," he said.  White was responding to concerns about the case of Cameron Willingham who was executed in Texas in 2004 despite new evidence indicating that the arson investigation that led to his conviction was flawed. Texas' present governor, Rick Perry, recently dismissed the chair and two members of a State Forensic Science Commission that was scheduled to hear evidence regarding the case. Former governor White said the case is one example “of why I think the system is so unreliable.”

(J. McKinley, "Controversy Builds in Texas After an Execution," New York Times, October 19, 2009).  See more information about Cameron Willingham on DPIC's Executed but Possibly Innocent page.  See also Innocence and New Voices.