Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mark White and Jim Mattox criticize Greg Abbott

KXAN has posted video of Wednesday's press conference on their website. Also former Gov. Mark White and former Attorney General Jim Mattox have criticized Greg Abbott for not stopping Michael Richard's execution. Houston Chronicle has this:
Keller. a Republican, was not the only state elected official criticized Wednesday in connection with the Richard execution.

Former Gov. Mark White and former Attorney General Jim Mattox, who both fought to enforce the state's capital punishment laws during their terms as attorney general, said Abbott, as the state's top lawyer, has a duty to halt executions when they appear to violate an inmate's due process rights.

White said Abbott is an officer of the court and he "should have been obligated to ask for a stay" in the Richard execution.

Mattox said the attorney general may lack actual legal authority to stop an execution, but the state prison system will follow an attorney general's order.

Mattox, who witnessed more than 30 executions, said he once ordered an inmate off the execution gurney over prison system protests because he knew the man would receive a stay.

"When the state is all powerful, the state has got to be cautious in how it uses its power," he said. "Sometimes you do things not to protect the individual but to protect the system itself."

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