A Texas judge in the county that sends more inmates to death row than any other in the nation is apparently taking a stand.
Saying he could assume that innocent people have been executed, state District Judge Kevin Fine ruled in a pre-trial motion in a capital murder case on Thursday that the death penalty was unconstitutional and found himself on Friday facing a torrent of criticism from a string of high-profile Texans including Gov. Rick Perry.
Fine, a Democrat who is heavily tattooed and says he is a recovering alcoholic and former cocaine user, answered some of the criticism during a court hearing Friday.
"To say that I am ignoring precedent or legislating from the bench I think is slightly overreaching," he said.
Fine said there was no precedent to guide him in resolving the issues raised by defense attorneys in a case involving a man accused of fatally shooting a Houston woman and wounding her sister during a robbery in front of their home in June 2008.
Attorneys for John Edward Green Jr. argued Texas' death penalty statute is unconstitutional because it violates their client's right to due process of law under the 5th Amendment since hundreds of innocent people around the country have been convicted and sent to death row and later exonerated.
Good for Judge Fine. Texas has long been the death penalty capital of the country, but enough is enough. Capital punishment doesn't deter crime, it's racist, costs taxpayers more money and it kills innocents.