On Thursday, March 4, state District Judge Kevin Fine granted a pretrial motion declaring the death penalty unconstitutional.
“Based on the moratorium (on the death penalty) in Illinois, the Innocence Project and more than 200 people being exonerated nationwide, it can only be concluded that innocent people have been executed. It’s safe to assume we execute innocent people.”
The motion was submitted in the capital murder trial of John Edward Green, Jr who is charged with killing a Houston women and injuring her sister. Green’s attorney’s argued that the law providing for the procedures surround the instructions to a jury in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure violate the Eighth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment and guaranteeing the right of due process.
Although the motion will be appealed and is most likely to be overturned, according to University of Houston Law Center professor Sandra Guerra “trial judges sometimes grant rulings that are unlikely to stand up on appeal to start a dialogue in the judicial branch…to buck the system, just to stir waters.”
Houston District Attorney Pay Lykos as well as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have already spoke out against the ruling calling it “an act of unabashed judicial activism” and saying “it [the ruling] has no basis in law”.
To view the Houston Chronicle article in its entirety click here.