Mark White served as the state of Texas’ attorney general from 1979-1983 and as governor from 1983-1987 during which time he oversaw 19 executions. In 2009, the former governor was quoted in both the Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News regarding his waning support of the death penalty in light of wrongful executions and a poor criminal justice system.
On March 29, 2010 Mr. White spoke out once again, this time with the National Law Journal, regarding the trial of Charles Hood. Hood was convicted in 1990 for the murder of two individuals in Plano, TX; Hood was sentenced to death row. However the prosecuting attorney and presiding judge during Hood’s trial were having a secret affair, which was acknowledged by the former couple nearly two decades later. In 2010, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Hood a new sentencing trial but did not address the breach of judicial fairness with the original trial.
In February 2010, former Governor White along with 20 other former judges and prosecutors petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Hood’s petition for certiorari. In the March 29 article Mr. White addresses why the High Court should grant Hood’s petition for a new trial, “with an impartial judge and ethical prosecutor”, while citing how judicial flaws like that of an unfair and unbiased trial does nothing but damage the confidence and strength of the judicial system that citizens depend on. Although the original offense occurred over two decades ago, as the former governor states, “the passage of time doesn’t make it any less of a breach. The only thing for which we can be thankful is that an execution has not already occurred.”
To read Governor White’s full article click here.