As we first reported last October, the year 2008 marked the first time since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977 that Harris County would not be sending anyone to Death Row.
The high cost of capital murder trials, some setbacks in prosecutions that may have indicated changing public sentiment, no egregious cases ready for trial, all that may have played a part, officials say.
Fret not, however: Harris County's hang-`em-high reputation is about to get another workout.
Thomas Cahill, the noted author of the marvelously titled book (as long as you're Irish) How the Irish Saved Civilization, is coming out with a book that examines the 2004 execution of Dominique Green.
The sense of the book may best be conveyed by its title: A Saint on Death Row.
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The Huffington Post has the details: "Cahill quotes one 'young, conscientious, white lawyer,' saying, 'In Texas, the object is to fry as many niggers as possible.'"
Green made a deep impression on Cahill, it's obvious. And the case against him was always shaky:
There were no eyewitnesses to the crime, so the only testimony against Dominique came from the two other men arrested with him, both of whom were looking for good treatment. His defense lawyers were, as Cahill puts it, "bungling and naïve." They called his abusive, schizophrenic mother to the stand and she promptly told the jury she thought Dominique capable of murder and that he should get the maximum time. Among the items of evidence against him was a letter he wrote in which said he was a "trigga happy nigga," a citation from a popular rap song of the time that Dominique was clearly employing in the ironic way of the black street culture. The prosecutors harped on the phrase as proof of his intention to kill more people if ever given the chance.
The book is available from Amazon here.