Editor’s note: James C. Moore is a business consultant and partner at Big Bend Strategies, a business messaging firm. He is co-author of “Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential” and a TV political analyst. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — Texas law regarding the death penalty often feels like a cultural remnant from the days of cowboys and the Old West: You kill; you get killed. In a recent New York Times article, the headline included the phrase, “Confronted on Execution, Texas Proudly Says It Kills Efficiently.” The language feels like an understatement considering that 515 inmates have been put to death in Texas since 1982, about 60% of the national total. Unfortunately, efficiency does not equate with accuracy.
Robert James Campbell, for example, was convicted of murder and rape. His defense attorneys, however, during his trial in Texas were not allowed to introduce evidence that indicated he was intellectually disabled and struggled with right and wrong. A prosecution expert, arguing for death, said Campbell might be dangerous in the future “because he is black.” These factors prompted a federal appeals court to stay Campbell’s Tuesday execution and allow the introduction of additional evidence at new sentencing hearing….