Thursday, January 28, 2010

Innocence Project to webcast Texas Forensic Science Commission meeting tomorrow

The Texas Forensic Science Commission is meeting tomorrow for the first time
in six months. This is the commission's first meeting since Gov. Rick Perry
suddenly replaced its chair and several of its members while it was in the
middle of an investigation into the case of Cameron Todd Willingham.

The Innocence Project will stream live video of the meeting on our website at:

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. (CST) on Friday, January 29, and is expected
to run several hours. Newly appointed commission chairman John Bradley decided
to hold the meeting in Harlingen, which makes it difficult for many interested
parties in the state to attend. Those who cannot be in Harlingen can watch the
meeting live online starting at 9:30 a.m. (CST).

The agenda for the meeting is at:

The Willingham case is not on the agenda, which Bradley set, although it was
on the agenda for the last scheduled meeting of the commission (which was
canceled when Gov. Perry replaced the chair and several members). The agenda
for the canceled October meeting is at: The agenda
for tomorrow's meeting does include a discussion of pending cases. Also,
individual commissioners have the authority to place a discussion of the
Willingham case on the agenda during tomorrow's meeting.

Willingham was executed in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his
children. Before and after his execution, leading experts found that there was
no scientific basis for deeming the fire an act of arson. The Innocence
Project formally asked the Forensic Science Commission to investigate the case
in 2006. That request specifically asked the commission to determine whether
there was negligence or misconduct in the forensic analysis that initially
deemed the fire an arson and - importantly - to determine whether other arson
convictions in Texas may have been based on the same kind of unreliable
forensic analysis. Nearly two years ago, the commission unanimously decided to
pursue an investigation, which proceeded in an objective, transparent fashion
until October 2009, when the chair and several members were removed.

For full background on the Willingham case, go to: