Texas judge says death penalty unconstitutional

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Associated Press

Posted on March 6, 2010 at 3:35 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — The state attorney general in Texas is accusing a judge of engaging in "unabashed judicial activism" by declaring the death penalty to be unconstitutional.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is offering to help the district attorney appeal the decision, which Abbott says ignores U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

He says it also "delays justice" for the victim's family in a murder case.

The ruling came from Judge Kevin Fine in Harris County, which sends more inmates to death than any other in the nation.

The state district judge, ruling in a pre-trial motion, said he could assume that innocent people have been executed. And he denies that he is "ignoring precedent or legislation from the bench."

Critics of his ruling also include the state's Republican governor, Rick Perry.

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