Rick Perry's death penalty stance may be a tough sell nationally

originally by: Business Insider
published: 5th July 2011

In tough-on-crime Texas, supporting the death penalty is practically a political prerequisite, and Gov. Rick Perry has nailed that qualification, overseeing the executions of 230 prisoners, more than any other modern governor of any state. “He certainly would stand out among other governors,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “But that’s just sort of a given in Texas.”

As Perry considers a bid for the White House, experts say his willingness to implement the death penalty and his adamant denial of the possibility Texas may have executed an innocent man could have mixed campaign consequences.

During his 10-year tenure, Perry has overseen nearly half of the 470 executions in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974.

In that time, public opinion about the death penalty has evolved as DNA evidence and other modern forensic science developments have cleared many wrongfully convicted inmates across the country. More than 130 death row inmates nationwide have been exonerated since 1973 — including 12 in Texas — according to the Death Penalty Information Center. A 2010 Gallup News poll found that public approval of the death penalty had dropped from an all-time high of 80 percent in 1994 to 65 percent in 2009.

Read full article >