More death row inmates have been freed through DNA testing in Texas than in any other state in the nation, according to the Innocence Project. The 42 prisoners were released from institutions where the majority of death row inmates are either African American or Latino. The black population of Texas is 12 percent.
In one such case, the DNA evidence was so overwhelming that even execution-happy Perry was persuaded to grant the state’s first-ever posthumous pardon. The inmate, who died in prison, had spent 13 years on death row for a wrongful rape conviction, followed by a campaign by his family to clear his name.
Nationally, the Nobel Prize-worthy humanitarian research of the Innocence Project has freed 281 wrongfully convicted death row inmates. Undergirding Rep. Paul’s observations about the racial disparity of the U.S. criminal-justice system, only 28 percent of those exonerated were white.
This racial skeleton trotted out of the closet not only offended Paul’s rivals before the shocked GOP audience; the revelation also seemed to disorient the ABC panel.
Institutionalized racism, apart from the petit charges and countercharges about who said what slur when, has a knack of throwing a wrench into polite, mainstream media discourse. As the other panelists gasped, it fell to ABC’s Diane Sawyer to change the subject, never to be continued that night or likely any other. “We want to take a break right now,” she said, ticking off a few different topics to be discussed upon their return.