(UnitedVoice.com) – Like presidents, governors have extensive pardon powers. They are able to override a jury verdict and a judge’s sentence in their states. While there are some rules, it is probably one of the few absolute powers that they possess.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is not a man who uses his pardon power often. In fact, he only issued two of them last year, eight in 2021, and seven in 2020. They have all been for low-level offenses and at the recommendation of the state’s parole board. Like most Republican lawmakers, he has made law and order a cornerstone of his agenda. However, he now plans to let a convicted murderer out of prison.
On July 25, 2020, Army Sgt. Daniel Perry was working as an Uber driver in downtown Austin when he encountered a group of BLM protesters that included Air Force veteran Garrett Foster. Both men were legally carrying firearms.
According to KVUE, witness Lyric Costley testified at trial that Perry drove close to the protesters on the night of the incident. Foster walked toward the vehicle, armed with an AK-47, when Perry shot him repeatedly.
In a police interview that was played at trial, Perry said Foster did not raise the gun at him, but he shot him because he was afraid he would. “I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me,” the sergeant told Austin police. However, he later changed his story and claimed Foster did point the gun at him, and he killed him in self-defense. Witnesses also testified that Foster didn’t raise his weapon.
Travis County jurors listened to testimony in the case for eight days, including evidence of Perry’s social media posts where he said people could shoot protesters and get away with it in Texas. They deliberated for 17 hours before issuing a guilty verdict against Perry for murder on April 7.
Abbott’s Pardon Declaration
Over Easter weekend, after the verdict was announced, Governor Abbott took to Twitter to condemn it. He said that he was working to try to have the convicted murderer pardoned. He went on to say that Texas is a “Stand Your Ground” state, and people are allowed to act in self-defense if they feel their life is in danger.
I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry. pic.twitter.com/HydwdzneMU
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 8, 2023
However, unlike the president and governors in other states, Texas only allows governors to pardon those that the Board of Pardons and Paroles determines to deserve to receive a pardon. Currently, all seven members of the board were appointed or reappointed by the governor. They are reviewing the case now.
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