Bernie Roddy, "Texas Execution"

Bernie Roddy writes:

"Texas Execution"

Bernie Roddy

Gary Sterling, a black man scheduled to be executed in Texas on August 10, is not claiming innocence in the murder of a white man, 72-year-old John Wesley Carty. Sterling directed investigators to the site of two bodies after the 1988 crime.

What is at issue is the punishment, the presence of an overtly racist individual on the jury, the fact that the defense was aware of this jury member's views, and the defense's lackluster effort to have the jury consider an objective psychiatric evaluation of Mr. Sterling's mental condition at the time of the crime. Much turns on whether the person is considered a "future danger to society" and whether death seems to be the only adequate punishment. Here race becomes a clear factor in the final results of a given case.

In a post-trial affidavit the juror at issue used an inflammatory racist epithet directed at African Americans. During the trial, the defense requested that a psychiatric evaluation be made of the defendant, but the court appointed Dr. James Grigson, also known as "Dr. Death," to serve that function. The defense declined the offer. But there was no further effort to provide such an evaluation. This is a system that works by increments to exterminate certain segments of the population in the U.S., and operates along clearly racist lines.

Gary Sterling's execution on August 10 represents a frank admission that racism is alive and acceptable in the U.S. industry of capital punishment.