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Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, Julián and Joaquin Castro Demand Execution Delay for Ivan Cantu


DALLAS – This week, with five days until Ivan Cantu’s scheduled execution on February 28, the Dallas Morning News published opinion pieces by its editorial board, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and Representative Joaquin Castro in support of Cantu’s case being reopened, due to a series of new pieces of evidence in Cantu’s case coming to light. Yesterday, anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean; Cantu’s 2001 trial jury foreman, Jeffrey Calhoun; and North Park Presbyterian’s Reverend Amy Moore, along with Cantu’s legal counsel, family, and friends delivered remarks and a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, demanding that they delay his execution. 

According to a legal filing made before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, there is more new evidence showing that the state’s star witness falsely testified and that the lead detective knew she was lying. Three jurors from the original case have requested a delay so the new evidence can be admitted. This week, Kim Kardashian and Richard Branson also joined Prejean and actor Martin Sheen in making the case that Cantu’s execution must be delayed. 

From the Dallas Morning News editorial board

“In 2007, this newspaper took a stance against the death penalty, saying it couldn’t reconcile the fact that it is both imperfect and irreversible.” We lost confidence that inherently flawed human beings and the criminal justice system they control could rightly mete out the ultimate punishment. A punishment that, if gotten wrong, is as heinous as the crime it was intended to address.

But with Cantu’s case we not only reiterate our previous position, but also go a step further. In 2024 the death penalty is both unnecessary and morally wrong. The state of Texas should not be in the business of taking human life. That’s especially true in light of a 2005 state law allowing convicted capital murderers to be sentenced to life in prison without parole instead of being executed.


Now Cantu’s lawyer Gena Bunn is scrambling to find other avenues to spare his life. She told us in an email she filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and appeals and requests for stays with the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Collin County trial court, and in federal court. We hope her efforts are successful. But hope and time are running out.

We don’t know for certain if Cantu is guilty; there’s clearly significant reason to doubt he is.

Nonetheless, Texas would be wrong if it killed him next week.” 

From Julían Castro and Joaquin Castro’s op-ed:

“When considering these findings, how could anyone who claims to uphold a fair and just legal system not recognize the need to reflect upon new evidence?

Instead, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a request for review from Cantu’s legal team with no explanation. With Cantu’s execution approaching, Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis has so far refused to request a motion to withdraw the execution date so that the new evidence can be admitted and considered.


The developments in Ivan Cantu’s case have urgently called into question the burden of proof that he is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the legal system refuses to consider recanted testimony, new evidence, a potential alibi and the misgivings of multiple jurors on the case, Texas could execute an innocent man. Cantu’s case must be reopened for review.”

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