Susan Reed, Bexar County DA has concluded that Ruben Cantu was justifiably executed in 1993. DA Reed refused to have an independent investigation of this case after questions about his guilt were raised by the Houston Chronicle in 2005. The DA insisted on handling the investigation despite the fact that she was a former Judge that ruled on issues related to the Cantu case before he was executed.
As a judge, Reed ruled against Cantu on critical issues during appeals. In1988, Reed denied Cantu’s request for an evidentiary hearing which raisedquestions about, among other things, eyewitness identification — a crucialissue that goes to the heart of his innocence claim. In 1993, Reed was the state district judge who signed the order setting his execution date.
Among those who have called for a full, fair, unbiased investigation is SamMillsap, the former District Attorney of Bexar County, who approved the death penalty prosecution of Cantu. Millsap has said that he has no reason to doubt the lone eyewitness’s recantation, and deeply regrets that a death sentence was even sought. He now believes that a single-eyewitness case should neverbe prosecuted as a death penalty case. He now supports abolition of executions in Texas.
The District Attorney’s inherent conflict of interest completely undermined the integrity of the investigation. She repeatedly rejected calls to recuseherself and seek a full, fair, unbiased investigation into the case of RubenCantu, including one call from a group of legal ethicists.
This case and the inherent conflict of interest involved in determining post conviction/execution guilt or innocence truly emphasizes the need for an Innocence Commision in Texas. Innocence Commission Legislation sponsored by Sen. Ellis this past session passed out of the Senate but didn’t make it out of a Democratic committee (Rep. Pena)?
We seem to see this conflict of interest in so many cases, including the Rodney Reed case out of Bastrop (The Second Judge to rule on the case was the daughter of the first Judge, and she ruled in favor of her Father). The level of incest that seems to be present in the Texas judicial system precludes any idea or hope that the Lady of Justice is truly blind.
What do they have to fear but the truth?