Wednesday, May 4, 2011

R.I.P. Cary Kerr

Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution
On May 4, 2011, Texas executed Cary Kerr for the 2001 rape and murder of 34-year-old Pamela Horton.  The execution was noteworthy for being the first execution in Texas to use pentobarbital, a sedative used to euthanize animals.  Kerr's jury voted to impose the death penalty without ever hearing about his abusive upbringing and mental problems because of his trial lawyer's failure to investigate.  When trial counsel is inadequate it is up to post-conviction lawyers to uncover the evidence and present it to the courts.  Unfortunately, Kerr's post-conviction lawyer was no better than his trial lawyer.  He has since been removed from the court list of capital appointments for his shoddy work, which in this case was embarrassingly poor.  New lawyers, from the recently-established Office of Capital Writs, were appointed only three weeks before Kerr's execution date after they learned that Kerr had no attorney despite the fact that his execution was imminent.   With only weeks to spare, Kerr's new lawyers uncovered evidence of a brutally tragic childhood that should have been presented to Kerr's jury.  These heroic 11th hour efforts were of no avail. 

This is the 13th execution in the United States this year, the third in Texas.


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