Court of Inquiry Ruling Postponed

On October 14, 2010, State District Judge Charlie Baird convened a court of inquiry into whether Cameron Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed and whether or not state officials committed a crime in how they handled his case prior to the execution.  Despite a motion filed by Navarro County District Attorney, Lowell Thompson, asking Judge Baird to recuse himself from the case, Baird allowed the proceedings to take place, stating that, in fact, Thompson was not a party to the case and therefore the motion would not stand.

Attorneys for the Willingham family called two witnesses—John Lentini and Dr. Gerald Hurst—both of whom are among the leading fire experts in the country who have spoken out regarding the flaws in the forensic science used to convict Willingham.  The Willingham family attorneys also presented to the court their argument that the testimony from jailhouse snitch Johnny Webb was not credible on its face.

The proceedings concluded on Thursday afternoon.  Any potential ruling has been delayed, however, due to another motion filed by the Navarro County DA — this time with the 3rd Appeals Court of Austin, which granted an emergency stay giving the Willingham family attorneys until October 22 to respond.

Read more at:

“Court Blocks Ruling on Case”
http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/14/2548412/court-blocks-ruling-in-death-penalty.html

“Appellate Court Orders Halt to Willingham Inquiry”
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/courts/entries/2010/10/14/willingham_hearing_could_begin.html

“Court of Inquiry on TX Man’s Execution Gets Underway”
http://www.heraldonline.com/2010/10/14/2532438/court-of-inquiry-in-texas-mans.html

“Austin Appeals Court Issues Stay Order in Willingham Probe”
http://corsicanadailysun.com/local/x1324604421/Austin-appeals-court-issues-stay-order-in-Willingham-probe