Entries tagged with “James Grigson

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Dec 26, 2019

Billy Joe Wardlow Faces Execution in Texas Based on False Evidence of Future Dangerousness

Billy Joe Wardlow (pic­tured) was 18 years old, when he killed 82-year-old Carl Cole dur­ing a botched attempt to steal Cole’s car so that Wardlow and his girl­friend could pur­sue their fan­ta­sy of run­ning away from their abu­sive homes in Carson, Texas to start a new life in Montana. Wardlow, who had no pri­or his­to­ry of vio­lence, has regret­ted his action ever since. In the cov­er sto­ry for the Winter 2020 issue of the mag­a­zine The American Scholar, Wardlow told vet­er­an jour­nal­ist and legal com­men­ta­tor Lincoln Caplan, it was really,…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Clemency

,

New Voices

,

Aug 19, 2016

Diverse Range of Voices Call for Sparing Jeff Wood, Who Never Killed Anyone, from Execution in Texas

As his August 24 exe­cu­tion date approach­es, Jeffrey Woods case has gar­nered mount­ing atten­tion from groups and indi­vid­u­als call­ing on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Gov. Greg Abbott to com­mute Wood’s sen­tence. These diverse voic­es include a con­ser­v­a­tive Texas state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, a group of evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers, and the edi­to­r­i­al boards of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and sev­er­al Texas news­pa­pers, among others.

Policy Issues

Race

,

United States Supreme Court

,

Jun 09, 2017

Duane Buck’s Lawyer Discusses How Future Dangerousness Taints Texas Death Penalty System

Thirty years ago, film­mak­er Errol Morris, who direct­ed the doc­u­men­tary The Thin Blue Line,” helped to exon­er­ate Texas death-row pris­on­er Dale Adams, false­ly accused of mur­der­ing a police offi­cer. During the course of mak­ing the film, Morris met the noto­ri­ous Texas pros­e­cu­tion psy­chi­a­trist, Dr. James Grigson, who rou­tine­ly tes­ti­fied that cap­i­tal defen­dants — includ­ing the inno­cent Mr. Adams — posed a risk of future dangerousness.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Race

,

Dec 08, 2016

Experts Say Texas’ Future Dangerousness Concept Is Based on Junk Science

Since 1973, juries in Texas have had to deter­mine whether a defen­dant presents a future dan­ger to soci­ety before impos­ing a death sen­tence. But while they have found that each of the 244 men and women cur­rent­ly on the state’s death row pos­es a con­tin­u­ing threat to soci­ety,” experts argue that juries can­not accu­rate­ly pre­dict a defen­dan­t’s future.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Innocence

,

Aug 31, 2009

INNOCENCE: Trial by Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?”

In a thor­ough and pen­e­trat­ing arti­cle pub­lished in The New Yorker on August 31, David Grann offers fur­ther evi­dence that Texas prob­a­bly exe­cut­ed an inno­cent man in 2004. Grann care­ful­ly exam­ines all the evi­dence that was used in the two-day tri­al in 1992 to con­vict Cameron Todd Willingham of mur­der by arson of his three young chil­dren. It is now well estab­lished through a series of inves­ti­ga­tions by oth­er fire experts that the foren­sic evi­dence of arson pre­sent­ed at tri­al had no sci­en­tif­ic basis and should not have led to…

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

,

Mental Illness

,

Sentencing Data

,

Executions Overview

,

Oct 08, 2018

Law Review: Junk Mental Health Science and the Texas Death Penalty

Junk sci­ence is enabling and per­pet­u­at­ing grave mis­car­riages of jus­tice” in Texas death-penal­ty cas­es. So con­cludes Professor James Acker in his arti­cle, Snake Oil With A Bite: The Lethal Veneer of Science and Texas’s Death Penalty, pub­lished in the lat­est issue of the Albany Law Review. Acker’s arti­cle high­lights the height­ened risks of injus­tice from pseu­do-sci­ence and junk sci­ence in cap­i­tal cas­es in Texas, one of the few states that con­di­tions death eli­gi­bil­i­ty upon a find­ing of the defendant’s future dan­ger­ous­ness. Acker writes that, at vir­tu­al­ly every … stage of…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Clemency

,

Nov 27, 2018

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Upholds Death Sentence Based on False Psychiatric Testimony

For the sec­ond time in less than six months, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) has upheld a death sen­tence that the tri­al court, lawyers for the pros­e­cu­tion and defense, and men­tal health experts all agree should not be car­ried out. On November 21, 2018, in an unpub­lished and unsigned opin­ion that mis­spelled death-row pris­on­er Jeffery Woods name, the court reject­ed a rec­om­men­da­tion by the Kerr County District Court to over­turn Wood’s death sen­tence and grant him a new sen­tenc­ing tri­al. The tri­al court had found that Wood’s death…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Clemency

,

Dec 08, 2017

Texas District Attorney Asks State to Spare Life of Man She Prosecuted Under Controversial Law of Parties”

The Texas pros­e­cu­tor who sought and obtained the death penal­ty almost 20 years ago against Jeffery Wood (pic­tured), a man who nev­er killed any­one, has now asked that his sen­tence be reduced to life in prison. In a let­ter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, sent in August and obtained December 7 by the Texas Tribune, Kerr County District Attorney Lucy Wilke asked the board to rec­om­mend that Governor Greg Abbott grant Wood clemen­cy and com­mute his sen­tence to life in prison. In 1998, Wilke — then an assis­tant district…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Aug 04, 2016

Texas Prisoner Who Did Not Kill Anyone Challenges Execution, Use of False Psychiatrist Testimony to Condemn Him to Die

Lawyers for Jeffery Wood (pic­tured), a Texas death row pris­on­er who is sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed August 24 despite undis­put­ed evi­dence that he has nev­er killed any­one, have filed a new peti­tion in state court chal­leng­ing his death sen­tence on mul­ti­ple grounds. They argue that Wood can­not be sub­ject to the death penal­ty because he nei­ther killed nor intend­ed for any­one to be killed and was not even aware the rob­bery in which a code­fen­dant killed a store clerk was going to occur. They also chal­lenge his death sen­tence on…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Upcoming Executions

,

Dec 10, 2019

Texas Set to Execute Travis Runnels Based on Expert” Testimony of Prosecution Investigator Whose False Testimony Has Put 15 on Death Row

Texas is prepar­ing to exe­cute Travis Runnels (pic­tured) on December 11, 2019 based on the expert” tes­ti­mo­ny of a pros­e­cu­tion inves­ti­ga­tor whose false depic­tion of prison con­di­tions has helped to put fif­teen defen­dants on the state’s death row. If Runnels is exe­cut­ed, he will be the third per­son put to death in Texas this year after for­mer Texas Special Prosecution Unit crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tor, A.P. Merillat pro­vid­ed false tes­ti­mo­ny at their trials.