Arson Case Not on Agenda as Texas Panel Reconvenes: the Innocence Project Online reports that after a long hiatus and months of national controversy, the Texas Forensic Science Commission will meet on Friday January 29, but the controversial case of Cameron Todd Willingham is not on the agenda. New commission chair John Bradley said he wants to focus first on commission procedures.
The panel was set to hear in October from an arson expert it hired to review the accuracy of evidence used to convict Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three daughters. Before that meeting could take place, however, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suddenly replaced four commission members, including its chairman, and the hearing was postponed.
The commission investigated the matter since 2006, when the Innocence Project formally asked it to investigate the Willingham case and to decide if unreliable arson analysis could have led to countless other convictions.
This week, the Innocence Project and the former commission chair told the Associated Press that the agenda for Friday’s meeting is a sign of continued delays in the panel’s important work.
Willingham’s case has been in the national spotlight since an investigation by the New Yorker discredited every piece of evidence used against Willingham. Independent reviews in recent years by more than a half-dozen nationally renowned arson experts have found that there was no scientific basis for determining that the fire was anything more than a tragic accident.