In this edition:
Scheduled executions and case updates: Fifth Circuit rejects appeal of Duane Buck
Call for nominations: TCADP seeks nominations for our annual Appreciation, Courage, and Media Awards
In case you missed it: Did the State of Texas execute an innocent man?
Featured action: Join our growing list of Organizational Affiliates
Upcoming events: Save the date for a death penalty symposium at the State Capitol in October
Invest in TCADP: Become a Sustaining Member!
Exonerations “caused a shift in dynamics where you don’t see the population thinking that everyone should be hung high. The blood lust is gone.”
– Former Harris County prosecutor Murray Newman on the decline of death sentences in Harris County
Scheduled executions and case updates
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out one execution this month:
- On September 29, Perry Williams is scheduled to be put to death for killing medical student Matthew Carter during a robbery in Houston in 2000. Williams was 19 at the time of the crime. Harris County accounts for 124 executions since 1982, more than any other state in the country, besides Texas.
The State of Texas accounts for 10 of the 19 executions that have occurred nationwide to date in 2015. At least five more executions are scheduled to take place this year. More than eight months have now passed since the last death sentence was imposed by a Texas jury.
Other case updates
On August 20, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of Duane Buck, who received ineffective legal representation during his capital trial in Houston in 1997. During the sentencing phase, Buck’s trial attorneys presented an expert who testified that Buck would be more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is black. This same expert provided racially biased testimony in six other cases; all of those defendants later received new sentencing hearings. Buck is seeking a new, fair sentencing hearing, free of racial bias. Learn more about this case and read a statement from Buck’s attorneys in response to the Fifth Circuit’s ruling.
Nominate candidates for our annual awards!
TCADP seeks nominations for our annual Courage, Appreciation, and Media Awards. With these awards, we recognize outstanding organizations and individuals who have made significant and selfless contributions towards abolishing the death penalty in Texas. All award winners will be honored at the TCADP 2016 Annual Conference on February 20, 2016 in Houston. Submit your nominations by October 16th!
In case you missed it
A recent episode of CNN’s “Death Row Stories” focused on the case of Ruben Cantu, who was wrongfully executed by the State of Texas on August 24, 1993. Cantu’s conviction was based largely on the testimony of a single eyewitness who later changed his story. While the full episode is not yet available online, you can watch video clips and read about this case and its impact on former Bexar County District Attorney Sam Millsap.
You can also watch a TEDxSan Antonio talk that Sam Millsap delivered in 2010, entitled “Advocating for Truth: Why a Former Prosecutor No Longer Supports the Death Penalty”.
Featured action: Seeking Organizational Affiliates
Currently, 20 organizations statewide, including faith communities and civic groups, have pledged to publicly support our efforts to end the death penalty and invite their members to become involved. Are you part of a group that should be on this list? If so, download and mail in this form.
Houston: TCADP’s Houston Chapter will meet tonight, September 1st, at 7 PM in the upstairs meeting room at Central Market, 3815 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77027.
Austin: TCADP will resume its bi-monthly luncheons on Wednesday, September 16th at noon with former Director of Victim Services of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Ellen Halbert. The luncheon will take place at The Egg & I-Northcross (2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX). To RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Halbert began her career in victim services subsequent to a violent victimization in 1986. In 1991, she was appointed by Governor Ann Richards to a six-year term on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which has oversight of the adult criminal justice system in Texas. She was the first victim survivor to be appointed to the Board. Ellen has been recognized and honored throughout the United States for her work as a survivor activist and restorative justice practitioner.
El Paso: El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty, a chapter of TCADP, meet on the last Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will take place at 7:00 PM on September 29th at St. Pius X Church in the Pedro Maldonado Room (1050 North Clark Drive). For more information, please contact Pat Delgado at email@example.com.
Austin: TCADP, in conjunction with the Texas Mercy Project of the Texas Catholic Conference, The Office of Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., and the Catholic Mobilizing Network, is sponsoring “Journey to Mercy: Rethinking the Death Penalty in Texas” on Friday, October 23rd. The event will take place at the Texas Capitol Auditorium and Legislative Conference Center (1100 Congress Ave.) from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. To RSVP for this free conference, please visit http://bit.ly/1McTsbc.
A “Walk for Life, Hope and Mercy: Standing Against the Death Penalty” will take place on Saturday, October 24th. The walk will begin at 9:00 AM at St. Austin Catholic Center (2010 University Avenue) and end with a rally on the South Steps of the State Capitol (1100 Congress). All are welcome to attend.
Invest in TCADP
Thanks to your generosity, we exceeded our summer fundraising campaign goal of $2,500! Consider taking your support to the next level by becoming a TCADP Sustaining Member. Sustaining Members pledge an annual gift that recurs every year on the date of their choosing. Join more than 65 Sustaining Members who are investing $3,500 annually in TCADP.
Thank you for standing with us as we shift the ground under the death penalty in Texas!