Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Robert Nelson Drew: An Additional Note

A quick follow-up note on Robert Nelson Drew.  If you check here, you can see the appellate attorneys who prepared Drew's state writ of habeas corpus: Ronald Kuby, William Knustler, Rob Owen and Michael Jackson.

I'm unfamiliar with Michael Jackson the appellate attorney. Kuby and Knustler are famous (some will say infamous) for their high-profile and notorious clientele. You may recognize Knustler in the photo at the right.

Rob Owen, of course, is currently and ably defending Hank Skinner.

Robert Nelson Drew couldn't have asked for a more talented appellate team, and he was as obviously innocent as you can ever hope to find on Texas' death row, absent DNA proof. But it did him no good. Not a whit.

Is this the kind of judicial system we want?

Is it the kind we deserve?
BBC News has a brief but interesting article on the status of the death penalty in Texas.

Robert Nelson Drew

When I decided to review each of the 450 lethal injections in Texas, now 451, I naturally suspected Cameron Todd Willingham, Ernest Cantu, and Carlos DeLuna would be among the cases I studied carefully. They are frequently mentioned as examples of people who may have been innocent, though plunged by Texas. 

I had never heard of Robert Nelson Drew.

It's not that no one ever wrote of Robert Nelson Drew. You can read about his case here, here, and here. Also here and here. Drew just somehow never made it to the Pantheon of likely innocents convicted by the State. Life passed him by, and now Death turns a deaf ear. Even his transition was punctuated with dismissiveness. The judge who signed his death warrant added a smiley face.  

The "Sincerely" was also a nice touch.

How Did You Spend Your College Days?

The Daily Northwestern has a good article on the students who helped save Hank Skinner's life, at least for the moment. The story also discusses the county's effort to have the students reveal their grades, notes, and other goodies.

The newspaper is a college paper associated with Northwestern University, as is the Medill Innocence project, as are the students who researched and reported on the Skinner case.  The newspaper may have a bias. Before relying on what they write, or what I write, I invite you to prowl the internet for competing points of view and decide matters for yourself.