Good for Rick Perry

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The governor of Texas has commuted Kenneth Foster's death sentence. Foster was to be killed today for driving the getaway car after a murder he didn't know was going to happen:

Gov. Rick Perry accepted a recommendation from the state parole board and said Thursday he would spare condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster from execution and commute his sentence to life.

Foster had been scheduled to die Thursday evening.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the legislature should examine."

A surprising move, but one that the state's legal eagles and newspapers had been clamoring for.

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  1. Good for Mr. Perfect Hair.

  2. Someone from the Peoples Republic of Texas did something reasonable? Did the Cubs win the pennant?

  3. Kudos to Gov. Perry, but I fear his political career in Texas may be over.

  4. Dan,

    Contrary to popular belief, Texans are not all bloodthirsty Branch Davidians.

    In fact, most of us are Mexican

  5. Don’t jinx the CUBS!

    They need this.

  6. highnumber,

    Not even the blessed admission of 50000 goats could save the cubs.

  7. Eeww. Second unclean thread.

  8. I thought the Clinton administration had Ken Foster secretly murdered. You mean he’s alive and in a Texas prison?!?

  9. Dan,

    Contrary to popular belief, Texans are not all bloodthirsty Branch Davidians.

    In fact, most of us are Mexican

    Leave me to my delusions, please!

  10. Leave me to my delusions, please!

    If you kept them to yourself, we would.

  11. Bush would have had the cojones to put this fucker down.

  12. I thought the Clinton administration had Ken Foster secretly murdered. You mean he’s alive and in a Texas prison?!?

    And who knew that the lead singer of Journey was now governor of Texas?

  13. Dan T.,

    He didn’t stop believin’.

  14. How much you wanna bet that he used that song as his campaign song.

  15. And here I was confusing him with that basketball player who shot foul shots underhanded for the Lakers.

  16. For no good reason, I just looked at the Journey wiki. Did you know that there was once a band called Frumious Bandersnatch? Huh.

  17. It’s too bad for Perry that Foster wasn’t scheduled to be executed tomorrow. That would’ve allowed him to make the announcement the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend in an effort to bury the story. Former Indiana governor Joe Kernan pulled that trick when he commuted Darnell Williams’ sentence in 2004. Of course, he still got trounced in the next general election, so maybe it’s hopeless for Perry either way.

  18. Ack! Warriors. He played for the Warriors. And the Nets.

  19. Goodhair’s advisers finally told him to do something smart.

    It’s about time – the guy has the IQ of an eggplant.

  20. Rick Barry was no Laker.

  21. C’mon. STEVE Perry was the lead singer of Journey. At least he was after they stopped being a prog rock band and Greg Rolie was relegated to keyboards and backing vocals.

  22. Maybe Rick James….bitch.

  23. What’s funny about Journey was how great the supporting cast was–Santana escapees, etc. Strange they ended up being so “pop”.

  24. Every Texan knows that Perry’s hair really runs the state. Way to go, Governor Hair!

  25. And no one believes George Tickner when he says “Hey I was in Journey!”

  26. In his entire term as Governor of Texas, George W. Bush never commuted one death penalty.

    Does any intelligent person honestly believe that no one who did not deserve to die was on Death Row during Bush’s term? If not, then it must be some combination of cowardice, arrogance, ignorance, laziness, cynicism and criminality that had Bush let every one of them–the guilty and the innocent–die. President Bush’s dereliction of duty may not amount to premeditated murder but it is at least manslaughter. Now he is in the White House.

    What a different type of guy is this Rick Perry, simply by showing a moral sense. Today, Governor Perry sticks up for reason and justice. Let’s hope that other governors are brave enough to follow his example.

  27. I was wondering if life was too much, but it does sound like this guy deserves considerable jail time, though not death.

  28. Melvyn, “Does any intelligent person honestly believe that no one who did not deserve to die was on Death Row during Bush’s term?”

    Well Melvyn, name him or her? What is the problem? If there was one, we would’ve heard about it.
    About this prick who sentence was commuted. If he was executed, it would’ve be unjust how?
    He participated in a felony crime that killed an innocent person. That is murder one. Its the law, look it up.
    He was the get away driver, so what?
    He says he didn’t know anyone would be killed.
    How do you know he is telling the truth?
    Even still, so what? You plan an armed robber, the reason its armed is because by threatening to KILL someone you expect the execution of crime will be easier.
    See the logic?
    No you don’t, because you are a dip.

  29. Just wondering – how many people are happy about this (the commutation) because they are against the death penalty in general, and how many think this particular individual did not deserve to die for his crimes, but that the death penalty is ok in some situations?

    I haven’t examined the record, but if you support the death penalty for felony murder (I don’t), based on the facts as reported in the media I don’t think it would be an absurd result for him to be executed.

  30. How long will it take for a Republican partisan to mention Ricky Ray Rector?

    OK, I just mentioned him, and I’m preemptively stating that his case has nothing to do with this topic, especially since the Supremes have banned the use of the death penalty on the mentally retarded.

  31. As yourw noble weader, I will wewease one pwisonew.

    Wewease… Bwian.

  32. I’m not persuaded by the ‘he was only the getaway driver’ argument either. The legal standard is all culpable parties are guilty.

  33. Terry,

    David Wayne Stoker, for one, did not deserve to be executed. The problems: The key witness against him was paid for his testimony and had pending charges against him dropped; a second witness later recanted his testimony; the psychiatrist who called him a sociopath had never examined him and was later disbarred; his lawyer was forced to give up his license shortly after the trial. See http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/061100-01.htm (the Atlantic also mentioned him in their article on the death penalty in Texas).

    “If there was [a problem], we would have heard about it.”

    Whaddya mean “we,” kemo sabe?

  34. This guy was sensenced to death under a law that says everyone in a group can be charged with a crime. There were 3 other people with him, all three said he knew nothing about the killing before it happened and he was 80 feet away when it occured. The state of Texas does not dispute this. I don’t know what he did after the crime occured, but evidentakky didn’t have any involvement in the killing.

  35. Terry, a dozen people on death row have been exonerated by DNA evidence. Before DNA evidence was available, it’s fair to extrapolate that there were innocent people without the means to be exonerated.

    See the logic?

  36. Actually, Perry’s career as governor will be over in 2010 one way or another since he can’t run again. Speaking as a fourth-generation Texan and unabashed Team Blue Rah Rah girl, I still congratulate Gov. Perry for doing this. There is something beneath the hair after all.

    Of course, he’s moving to an undisclosed location for 18 months while they remodel the Governor’s Mansion, so maybe that had something to do with it.

  37. Oh, and Nigel, please don’t insult eggplants anymore, kthx.

  38. Karen,
    I don’t think there are term limits for governor. I can’t find any reference to them in the TX constitution.

    Of course, he only got 39% of the vote last time ’round, so I don’t expect him to bother running in 2010.

  39. Terry, a dozen people on death row have been exonerated by DNA evidence. Before DNA evidence was available, it’s fair to extrapolate that there were innocent people without the means to be exonerated.

    It doesn’t matter, because the Supreme court has ruled that it is not unconstitutional to execute an innocent person, as long as they had a fair trial.

  40. Juanita- do you have a cite for that holding?

  41. “I didn’t kill anybody,” Foster told The Associated Press in a recent interview from death row. “It’s hard for you to anticipate how Brown is going to react. Texas is saying flat out: You should have known better.

    “In life, we have hindsight. Texas is saying you better have foresight. They’re saying you better be psychic.”

    While I am sympathetic to the idea that capital murder shouldn’t be “felony murder”, where you didn’t have a direct hand in the decision to kill, I nonetheless have zero sympathy for his line of reasoning here. Admittedly this quote is out of context and I don’t know if he’s said other things that ameliorate this statement, but right here he seems to be saying “Hey, it wasn’t my fault, how was I supposed to know what my unpredictable friend would do when he pointed a gun at somebody?” Well, unpredictable guy + thing that shoots = a good chance that somebody gets shot, dumbass. It’s not astrology. It’s not even rocket science. You’re culpable. Get over it.

    That said, I don’t think that he’s culpable to a capital extent.

    BTW, can we deprecate the damn capital/capitol distinction? I’m normally tolerant of English spelling irregularities, but this one’s a bit egregious. They’re both from the exact same Latin root, and mean pretty much exactly the same thing, so can we just make them the same word already?

  42. There is something beneath the hair after all.

    Yeah, Karen, scabies.

  43. And the nubbins of horns.

  44. Kudos to Gov. Perry, but I fear his political career in Texas may be over.

    He’s governor. That’s pretty much end of the line in Texas anyway.

    Texans are not all bloodthirsty Branch Davidians.

    Bloodthirsty? BD didn’t attack anyone.

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