I know very little about James Clayton beyond the fact that he was
killed by George W. Bush on May 25, 2000, making him the 130th
prisoner to be executed in Texas during Bush's tenure as governor.
Clemency is an issue Bush swears has little to do with him.
Whenever you write to Bush asking him to grant clemency to a death
row inmate, you get back a conservatively compassionate letter
saying, in effect, that Bush feels duty-bound to honor the vow he
evidently believes he took as governor promising to kill as many
prisoners as he can; and that, in any case, he does not have the
power to grant clemency on his own.
The latter claim, though not technically false, is the moral
equivalent of an outright mendacity, the kind of misleading statement
that only a politician could try to pass off as "true" in any
meaningful sense. As Alan Berlow pointed out in the May 11, 2000
issue of the online magazine Salon, in an article titled "The
Under Texas law, Bush can only commute a death
sentence if he receives a recommendation to do so from the state
Board of Pardons and Paroles. Absent such a recommendation, Bush's
legal authority is limited to granting a 30-day reprieve.
Bush has used this legal technicality repeatedly to suggest that
he actually has no power to stop an execution