Frances Newton: Parole Board Votes for Stay of Execution

Bump and Update: The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to recommend a stay. What will Gov. Rick Perry do?

Frances Newton is not going to the texecution chamber Wednesday without a fight. She's been claiming her innocence for 17 years.

Questions have been raised, however, about the quality of her legal defense and the reliability of forensic testing by the Houston Police Department crime lab, both of which have come under scrutiny in recent years, her attorneys said.

We wrote about Frances here, quoting the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty :

Frances Newton faces execution in Texas Dec. 1, despite resounding doubts about her guilt. Newton's case is a witches' brew of death penalty dysfunctions. Her trial counsel was egregiously incompetent, she has a strong innocence claim and her conviction rests largely on dubious tests conducted by the now-discredited Houston Police Department crime lab.

She will be the first African-American woman to be executed in modern Texas history. Take action here in support of her lawyers' request for a 120 day reprieve.

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