Death Sentence Reviews Leave Unsettled Issues

Stanley Schneider was shocked last year when Texas’ highest criminal court sent his death row client an early Christmas gift of sorts, ordering the trial court to re-examine evidence from a psychologist who had decided that John Reyes Matamoros was mentally fit to face execution.

“We were hopeful their sending it back would mean something,” Schneider said.

But his hope flagged in March when, he said, two Harris County state district judges virtually rubber-stamped Dr. George Denkowski’s findings in the cases of Matamoros and a fellow death row inmate, Steven Butler. Denkowski, the psychologist who testified in the cases ...

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