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No mention of Willingham

The Texas Forensic Science Commission had its first meeting since Williamson County DA John Bradley was named Chair by Governor Perry. Bradley did the job Perry picked him for by preventing any official discussion of the Cameron Todd Willingham case until after the March primary.

The delay and Friday’s agenda, which failed to move forward any of the pending investigations, led to some terse exchanges between commissioners and Bradley. Some questioned his authority to speak for the commission, noting an editorial he wrote immediately after his appointment without consulting long-term commissioners.

“I apologize if any toes feel like they were stepped on,” Bradley said.

When Commissioner Garry Adams mentioned that there were “weighty” items awaiting commission action, Bradley answered flatly that “our actions today are limited to what’s on the agenda.”

After the meeting, Adams, a veterinary pathologist at Texas A&M University, said he expected the commission’s cases to be back on track at the next meeting, scheduled for April 23 in Fort Worth.

Bradley assured commissioners that the Willingham case investigations would be considered at the next meeting.

“Yes, they will be on the agenda. Yes, they will be discussed,” he said.

I trust you’ll forgive me if I don’t put a lot of faith in Bradley’s reassurances. For more on what did take place, read Grits’ liveblogging of the meeting. If that’s too much, try this summary of the meeting and of Bradley’s performance.

That was really quite a display. I’ll give him this. John Bradley came into Harlingen with an agenda; he was on his A-game when other commissioners were back on their heels and didn’t know what to expect; and as a result he got what he wanted out of the meeting: Delay discussing anything substantive about flawed forensic science and a new “process” in which he can bury the Willingham case in committee until after the November election.

It was a pretty brazen performance, but judging by minimalist MSM media coverage, the Williamson County DA clearly made a good bet that – by moving the meeting to the Rio Grande Valley on a Friday and waiting to produce the rules until the last minute – he would get away with such bold hectoring of the commission. It’s not a great start to Bradley’s relationship with his fellow commissioners, but he’s obviously not there to make friends. He’s there to delay the commission’s work and to impede the Willingham investigation by hook or by crook. And he’s succeeding.

Yoo hoo! Senator Whitmire! I believe this is your cue to have another hearing about the Commission and what Bradley is doing to it.

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