Foster Sentence Commuted to Life in Prison

The Times reports:

The Texas pardons board, appointed by the governor, took the unusual action of voting 6 to 1 Wednesday to recommend commutation of Mr. Foster’s death sentence. The result was not released until Thursday morning and shortly afterward, Mr. Perry, a Republican, announced he had accepted the recommendation.

“After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations 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,” the governor said in a statement.

He said he was also concerned about the law that allowed Mr. Foster and the actual triggerman to be tried together and urged the Legislature to re-examine the issue.

It’s really remarkable. In the United States, a man driving a getaway car can be tried simultaneously with an admitted murderer?

Rick Perry has an interesting record on the death penalty – a thorny part of any governor’s job in Texas. He rejected an earlier pardon board recommendation not to execute a schizophrenic man, but has commuted sentences for juveniles. But meting out death is always and inevitably an inexact science.

I’m in New York and am going to spend some time with my family, but hopefully I’ll be back later.

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