TEXAS, USA — Governor Greg Abbott is facing backlash after promising to pardon a man who was convicted Friday in Austin of shooting and killing a Black Lives Matter protester.
Some are calling the announcement a chilling effect on the rule of law.
“The governor’s proposed pardon of Daniel Perry is unprecedented in Texas law,” Rick Cofer, an Austin criminal defense attorney said.
After facing pressure from Fox News personality Tucker Carlson and some trolling online, Abbott decided to announce he’s working swiftly to pardon Daniel Perry, the man an Austin jury found guilty of shooting and killing a protester in 2020.
“The governor’s proposed pardon annuls the verdict of this jury, and it tells Texans that a jury verdict means nothing if the governor disagrees,” Cofer said.
Perry claimed he shot Garrett Foster in self-defense after he encountered Black Lives Matter demonstrators while working as a ride-share driver in downtown Austin.
“The Travis County jury showed that it rejected his claims of self-defense, he’s entitled to an appeal, he’s entitled to avail himself of all possible relief, however, his situation is no different than hundreds and hundreds of people in the state of Texas,” Cofer said.
Abbott said in a Saturday afternoon statement, “I look forward to approving the board's pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”
Abbott can only issue a pardon based on the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who Abbott appoints.
“The board is now put into this position where if they grant it or allow it, they’re essentially a rubber stamp, and they’re not really in a position to deny it given the statements that Gov. Abbott has made about this case,” KHOU 11 legal analyst Carmen Roe said.
Roe adds the pardon could set a harmful precedent.
“The concern going forward is this creates a slippery slope, for cases that are hot button issues dealing with self-defense, stand your ground law and that anyone could come in and put their thumb on the scale and alter the outcome of what a jury decides inside of the courtroom,” Roe said.
We are still waiting to find out when Perry will be sentenced in the case.