death penalty news—-TEXAS

Sept. 30


Local prosecutor has no idea why Perry removed him from Forensics

A lawyer in the Tarrant County district attorney's office has no idea why
Gov. Rick Perry replaced him on the Texas Forensic Science Commission this

Perry abruptly removed three members of the board, causing the
cancellation of Friday's high-profile meeting in Irving on a report that a
faulty investigation may have led to the execution of an innocent man.

The panel was considering a report critical of the arson finding leading
to Cameron Todd Willingham's 2004 execution for the deaths of his 3
daughters in a 1991 fire, according to The Associated Press.

Alan Levy is one of 2 local members that Perry removed from the board
Tuesday. The other, Aliece Watts, is a forensic scientist in Euless.

Levy's term had expired Sept. 1 but he didn't know that Perry was going to
replace him.

"What his reasons for doing it, I have no idea," Levy said. "I feel like a
jilted lover except that he's prettier than I am."

Levy said he wasn't going to assume that Perry replaced the board members
as a way of forcing the meeting to be canceled until after the March

"I've got my own thoughts but I don't have any way of knowing," Levy said.
"It's just odd. I'll assume that this was just part of the normal process;
but if it was, it certainly wasn't handled the way it should have been."

Levy said he got a call Tuesday about 4:30 p.m. from someone in the
governor's office. The person said the governor was "going in a different
direction," Levy said.

"I felt like a decaying fish they were trying to dispose of," Levy said.
"Since the job doesn't pay anything, I've been thrown out of better

Levy had high praise for the way Commission Chairman Samuel Bassett of
Austin ran the commission.

Levy said he had no idea why he, Watts and Bassett were replaced.

"Sam and I were the two lawyers. Everybody else was a scientist," Levy
said. "The only thing that links us is Governor Perry, which of course
isn't much of a link anymore."

(source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram)