01 August 2011 ~ Comments Off

August Alert: Executions Stayed, Houston Special Event, Summer Newsletter

In this Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Summer Newsletter
In the News
Special Events
Calendar

Scheduled Executions

August 10: Martin Robles

Two others execution dates in August have been removed: Larry Swearingen received a stay of execution from the Texas Court of Appeals on July 28, 2011, while the execution date for Ivan Cantu was withdrawn. Read more about the Swearingen case.

Summer Newsletter
2011 TCADP Summer Quarterly Newsletter

In this issue:
TCADP Launches Bexar County Campaign
Texas 82nd Legislative Session Wrap-up
Texas Death Penalty Developments
MVFR Interview:  Joanna Rankin
From the Field

Read it now!

If you recently received a 2011 membership renewal notice from TCADP in the mail, please take a moment to renew today! Now more than ever your membership means a lot to TCADP.  Consider becoming a Partner for Justice by providing a recurring monthly or quarterly donation.  Keep those newsletters coming, and thank you for supporting TCADP!

In the News

Willingham Case Off the Table for Forensic Science Commission

On July 29, 2011, the Attorney General of Texas ruled that the Forensic Science Commission does not have the authority to examine the evidence in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, as it predates September 1, 2005 (when the commission was created).  Willingham was executed in 2004 for setting his home on fire, killing his three young daughters. This past April, the commission issued a report that noted serious flaws in the arson science used to convict Willingham. Read more from the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Tribune. Read the response from the Innocence Project, which asked the commission to investigate the Willingham case.

Controversial Death Penalty Case Ends with Plea
Last month, the capital murder trial of John Edward Green, which was in its sixth week of jury selection, ended abruptly when Harris County prosecutors accepted an offer from the defense. In the deal, Green pled guilty to a lesser murder charge in exchange for a 40-year prison term; he had faced a possible death sentence if convicted on the charges of robbing and fatally shooting Huong Thien Nguyen, a 34-year-old mother of two, and wounding her sister, My Huong Nguyen in 2008.

In March of 2010, a pre-trial motion in the Green case led Harris County District Judge Kevin Fine to declare the administration of the death penalty unconstitutional, due to the risk of executing the innocent. Judge Fine later rescinded his ruling but called for hearings on the issue. Those hearings, which took place in December, led to two days of unprecedented testimony on the risk of wrongful conviction before being halted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The court later ruled in favor of a motion from the Harris County District Attorney’s office to bar the proceedings.

A press release from Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos regarding the plea deal noted that “The victim’s husband and sister (who is also a victim in this case) related that they wanted finality and certainty of sentence. They expressed grave concerns regarding the pretrial proceedings and previous rulings in this case.  We shared their concerns.”

Read more from the Houston Chronicle here and here.

OpEd from David Dow: Death Penalty, Still Racist and Arbitrary

In his July 9 op-ed in the New York Times, University of Houston Law Center Professor David Dow addresses the ongoing arbitrariness of the death penalty in light of the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gregg v. Georgia. He also discusses the racial implications of those sentenced to death and executed in the state of Texas, noting that “You can count on one hand the number of those executions [in Texas] that involved a white murderer and a black victim…”

Read the op-ed and join TCADP in Houston on September 15 for an event honoring Professor Dow and other Champions of Justice! See below for more details.

Special Events

Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice

Save the Date! TCADP will host an event on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at the Station Museum in Houston. We will recognize the extraordinary work of three Houstonians who have enriched our conversation with the public about the death penalty issue and who we consider to be “Champions of Justice”. Their endeavors and their victories encourage us to stay the course as we journey towards repeal. Purchase tickets and become a sponsor!

Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice
Thursday, September 15, 2011
7 to 9 p.m.
Program to start promptly at 7:30p.m.

Station Museum of Contemporary Art
1502 Alabama Street
Houston, TX 77004-3936

Please join us as we honor these individuals:

  • Jessica Farrar State Representative for District 148 and sponsor of repeal legislation (House Bill 819)
  • David Dow University of Houston Law Center Professor and Founder of the Texas Innocence Network
  • Nicole Casarez Professor of Journalism at The University of Saint Thomas and lead counsel for the exoneration of Anthony Graves

We are immensely grateful to Jim Harithas and the staff of the Station Museum for hosting and cosponsoring this event, which is occurring during the final days of the gallery’s current installation, “Witness to War,” featuring the work of George Gittoes.  Come support a worthy cause and check out the first major U.S. presentation of this compelling artwork, before it’s too late!

Save the date and see you there!

Calendar

August

7 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm, odessa@tcadp.org
10 Scheduled Execution – Martin Robles
15 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org, featuring the showing of a National Geographic documentary about life on death row from the perspectives of death row inmates, prison staff, families, etc.
17 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

September

10 TCADP table at Austin Pride Festival
13 Scheduled Execution – Steven Woods
15 Scheduled Execution – Duane Buck
15 Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice, Station Museum of Contemporary Art.  Tickets
16 Incendiary / the Willingham Case at the Violet Crown Cinema, Austin
18 TCADP table at Dallas Pride Festival
20 Scheduled Execution – Cleve Foster
21 Scheduled Execution – Lawrence Brewer, Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

October

24 Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty, Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University, 7:00 to 9:00pm, San Antonio (Save the date!)

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