Professor Tracy McCormack, Director of Advocacy and instructor for the University of Texas School of Law, spoke on behalf of Texas Appleseed, a non-profit public law center, during a press conference February 18th. Professor McCormack is a board member of Texas Appleseed.
The conference was called in connection with the recent publication of The Role of Mercy: Safeguarding Justice in Texas Through Clemency Reform, a report prepared jointly by Texas Appleseed and Texas Innocence Network. The report examines the current clemency procedures in Texas, compares those practices to other states, and makes recommendations for reform, including the implementation of public hearings in executive clemency cases.
"This report reveals a real lack of conscientious examination of petitions for pardons, commutations, and other clemency petitions in our state," Tracy McCormack said. "The problems stem from procedural deficiencies that are most unusual compared with other states."
"President Bush, in his recent State of the Union address, said that increasing confidence in our criminal justice system is of great importance, and that we need to redouble our efforts to ensure innocent people are not punished for crimes. We agree with the president and the reforms indicated in this report will go a long way toward providing some of that assurance in our state...in his state," McCormack continued.
Texas Appleseed is a non-profit law center that focuses on systematic reform at a local level. Texas Innocence Network, run by the University of Houston Law Center, examines cases involving inmates with claims of actual innocence.
For more information on this press conference, see Groups Renew Call for Changes to Clemency Process.