Friday, December 31, 2010

Johnny Frank Garrett: Not The Last Word

Reader Anonymous left a comment on my post What's Up With Johnny Frank Garrett? He informs us that The Last Word is now available on Netflix for instant viewing. The Last Word is an award winning documentary about  the obviously wrongful execution of Johnny Frank Garrett.

The 90 minute documentary provides more detail than I provided in my post Actual Innocence: Johnny Frank Garrett and Bubbles the Clairvoyant. If you have a Netflix subscription, you should watch the documentary. I suggest you wait until you have time to be sad and discouraged.

Jeff Blackburn is a Director for The Innocence Project of Texas. He appears in the documentary. Repeatedly. I'd say he's a bit angry about this case. Here's what he had to say about then Governor Ann Richards.
She should have stopped this execution and commuted his sentence. She could do it. There's no question about that. The governor has that power. She was arguably one of the best governors if not the best governor the 20th century had ever produced, and the best she could do is go along with the mob. That tells you how far things have gone in Texas.
To understand Ann Richards you've got to understand that she was a great Texas politician. To be a great politician in Texas means you've got to be a lousy human being. You cannot be governor of the state of Texas and be anything other than rotten to the core.
Johnny Frank Garrett made me personally change my whole view of Ms. Richards, a view that I had fostered on me and nurtured in me since childhood. She did the wrong thing, and for the wrong reason. And she did it for the sake of what they call political effectiveness, which really means keeping your career intact.

It was wrong and lousy and it still is wrong and lousy.
That's a bit harsh, but Ann Richards did in fact allow Johnny Frank Garrett to be executed. Rick Perry did in fact allow Francis Elaine Newton and Cameron Todd Willingham to be executed. All three were almost certainly innocent. It was wrong and lousy that we killed them.

Those three people died in vain. We have not learned from the injustice we inflicted upon them, and injected into them. We are going to do it again.

We are going to do it again in twelve days.

I'll write of that case tomorrow, on the first day of the new year.