Dear Gov. Greg Abbott: An Open Letter on the Guilt & Innocence of Melissa Lucio
Dear Gov. Abbott.
Melissa Lucio’s daughter was named Mariah. In the midst of all of the media attention around this case, that name is probably the easiest name to forget. The past few days have made me realize that advocacy…my advocacy…on behalf of Melissa Lucio would benefit from honesty about the nuances that exist in this case.
You see, there are parts of this case that I just can’t ignore. The drugs. The negligence. The incriminating statements from some of Lucio’s other children. It just seems to leave no doubt that Melissa Lucio failed as a mother. Every time I hear the word…innocence…it just doesn’t seem to fit. I think it’s important to make it plain…that Melissa Lucio is guilty (either by commission or omission) of abusing Mariah…full stop.
But…the world is a complicated place.
Guilt in one regard does not mean guilt in all regards.
Melissa Lucio wasn’t found guilty of abuse…she was found guilty of capital murder.
Even those with the most rudimentary understanding of the law can see that the videos of her interrogation…the lack of due process…the inadequacies of the supposed expert testimony…and a whole host of other less obvious aspects of this case…all betray fundamental principles of our criminal justice system. The reason that this case is drawing so much attention is that there is (beyond assumptions, innuendos and fabrications)…
NO PROOF THAT MELISSA LUCIO ACTUALLY KILLED MARIAH.
The nuance of this case mustn’t obscure this fundamental fact.
In the next few days, the State of Texas will be looking to you to guide them in this moment. If given the opportunity, I pray that the nuance of this case (that Melissa Lucio might have been a bad mother but she didn’t kill Mariah) won’t keep you from doing the right thing…saving Melissa Lucio’s life.
The Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
Convener, Clergy United Against the Death Penalty