Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2010
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-463-0113

Senator Ellis Signs on to Green Amicus

Today, State Senator Rodney Ellis signed on to the amicus brief submitted in the State v. Green case due to his concern over the increasing number of exonerations that have come to light. State v. Green is currently before the Court of Criminal Appeals. Senator Ellis releases the following statement:

"I signed on to the Amicus Brief in the case State v. John E. Green because I am concerned about the increasing frequency of proven wrongful convictions in Texas. These revelations provide ample evidence that without implementing numerous safeguards to improve the reliability of our justice system, Texas will continue to have an unacceptably high risk of convicting the innocent, or worse, executing an innocent person.

As I have said many times in the past, I support the death penalty but only if we can be sure we're not executing an innocent person. I oversaw three executions while acting Governor in 2000 when then-Governor Bush was on the presidential campaign trail. But considering that Texas has more exonerations than any other state, that eleven innocent people have been freed from death row, and yet the major causes of wrongful convictions have not been addressed, I have serious concerns that an innocent person could be executed. In 2011 I urge the legislature to pass legislation endorsed by the Tim Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions--including reforming eyewitness identification procedures and recording custodial interrogations--so we can have confidence that our justice system truly protects the innocent and ensures the guilty are brought to justice."