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2000-12-05

While Bush Counts His Political Blessings, Body Count Mounts in Texas As It Breaks Record On Executions

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As Texas Governor Bush counts his presidential blessings, the body count mounts in his home state. Tonight, Texas is set to break the national record for the number of annual executions when it kills the first of three people scheduled for execution this week. [includes rush transcript]

Barring an unlikely intervention by Bush, a former West Texas bartender who was condemned for killing a 7-year- old girl, will be killed by lethal injection tonight in Huntsville. Garry Dean Miller will become the 38th Texas inmate executed this year.

Tomorrow, Texas is set to execute Daniel Hittle, and the next day, it will be Claude Jones.

Since becoming governor, in 1995, Bush has presided over the deaths of 147 inmates, more than any U.S. governor in modern history. Since 1982, when Texas resumed executions, 236 inmates have been executed, far more than in any other state.

Guest:

  • Jim Marcus, Executive Director of Texas Legal Services.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As Texas Governor Bush counts his presidential blessings, the body count mounts in his home state. Tonight, Texas is set to break the national record for the number of annual executions when it kills the first of three people scheduled for execution this week.

Barring an unlikely intervention by Bush, a former West Texas bartender who was condemned for killing a seven-year-old girl will be killed by lethal injection tonight in Huntsville. Garry Dean Miller will become the thirty-eighth Texas inmate executed this year. Tomorrow, Texas is set to execute Daniel Hittle; on Thursday, Claude Jones.

We turn right now to Jim Marcus, executive director of Texas Legal Services. What’s going on in your state?

JIM MARCUS: Well, this year we’re going to execute at least forty people, barring any intervention this week. And basically we’re reaping the harvest of decisions that were made in 1995 to streamline, as some people call it, our review process. And we’ve sacrificed meaningful review of a lot of these cases at the altar of speed. And now we’re seeing the results of that, which is a lot of people like Mr. Miller tonight who have sped through the system very quickly with little to no review of their cases.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is Governor Bush’s role in this, who has presided over more deaths than any governor in US history?

JIM MARCUS: Governor Bush remains a staunch defender of the system, in light of a lot of evidence that’s been accumulated and presented that these — that people that are being executed now are not getting access to the system. They’re not having meaningful review of their cases. And he has just turned a blind eye towards that and continues to defend Texas’s system of putting people to death.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jim Marcus, I want to thank you for being with us from Houston, executive director of Texas Legal Services, as we mark each day that another person is executed in this country.

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