The expected pardon of a man convicted in the 2020 fatal shooting of a Black Lives Matters protester has confounded several Texas legal experts, ABC News reports.
Gov. Greg Abbott has already announced that he will pardon Daniel Perry once a request from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approves the request. The Board, which Abbott appointed, is expected to approve the request.
Perry was convicted of murder in the shooting death of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 during an Austin BLM protest.
Abbott announced that he would pardon Perry under pressure from right-wing media.
Former Travis County Criminal Court Judge David Wahlberg called notion of the governor reversing a jury’s verdict in a murder case “outrageous.”
Abbott contends Perry acted in self defense.
“It's simply outrageous for one individual who has not heard a word of testimony to try to substitute their judgment for that of 12 jurors who spent eight days listening to 40 witnesses and then deliberated for a significant period of time before reaching a verdict,” Wahlberg said.
“I think it clearly demonstrates that the conservatives have, by and large, abandoned the idea that they support law and order. I mean, we're seeing that across the country in a variety of different venues.”
Jennifer Laurin, a University of Texas at Austin law professor, said the governor’s announcement was a shock and an insult to the jurors.
“And I worry, frankly, about the degree to which this kind of posturing and the timing of it could really serve as kind of a deterrent to jury service or to full and free deliberations of jurors, particularly in, you know, Travis County and other sort of blue counties that would perhaps be the likely targets of this kind of activity,” Laurin told ABC News.
Alternate juror Jere Dowell told The Associated Press that the governor’s decision to pardon Perry was “a travesty.”
“I just thought it was an egregious overreach of power,” Dowell said. “It’s undermining due process. It’s undermining democracy. I was upset, honestly.”