TCADP January 2016 Alert: It’s a new year for justice

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: Six executions scheduled over next four months in Texas
TCADP 2016 Annual Conference: Check out some of our workshop session topics
In case you missed it: Ongoing coverage of the death penalty’s demise
Featured events: Volunteer at upcoming events in Austin
Year-end fundraising results: Thank you for your generous gifts in 2015!


Quote of the month
“The time and expense [of capital criminal cases involving the death penalty] are too costly for the ‘taxpayers of this county and I do not want to subject them to this kind of thing any longer.’” – Randall County District Attorney James Farren

[“Holberg capital case still causing headaches,” NewsChannel10.com (Amarillo); posted December 15, 2015; updated December 21, 2015]


Scheduled Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute two people this month:

  • On January 20, Richard Masterson is scheduled to be put to death for the 2001 murder of Darin Honeycutt in Houston.  According to the Houston Chronicle, during his 2002 trial, Masterson told jurors that he was a future danger. Future dangerousness is one of two special issues jurors in Texas must consider during the punishment phase of a death penalty trial.
  • On January 27James Freeman is scheduled to be put to death for the murder of Game Warden Justin Hurst after a police chase in 2007 in Wharton County. His 2008 trial was the first death penalty case in Wharton since 1979.

At this time, there are four additional executions scheduled to take place in Texas in the early months of 2016.

The first U.S. execution of the year is scheduled to take place tonight in Florida.

Attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions. Information and updates on these cases are available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.


TCADP 2016 Annual Conference
The TCADP 2016 Annual Conference – a must-attend event for anyone interested in ending the death penalty in Texas – will take place at Unity Church in Houston on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Take advantage of pre-registration rates of $55 for TCADP members, $60 for non-members, and $25 for students.  If you can’t join us for the full day, consider purchasing a ticket for our awards luncheon and keynote address by Nebraska Senator Colby Coash. Senator Coash played a leading role in the successful legislative campaign to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska last year.

Here’s a teaser of some of the workshop sessions we’ll offer in the afternoon:

  • A History of the Texas Death Penalty
  • Outreach to Conservatives
  • Engaging Faith Communities and Faith Leaders
  • Severe Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Learn more about the conference, including details on our panelists, keynote speaker, sponsors, and award winners. Register today!


In case you missed it: Ongoing coverage of the death penalty’s demise 
Media outlets continue to take note of the trends highlighted in our annual report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2015: The Year in Review, and the remarkable decrease in executions and death sentences in Texas and nationwide. We particularly liked these recent pieces from the Dallas Morning News:

Editorial: Could Texas be losing its appetite for the death penalty?

Texas’ top criminal court halted far more executions in 2015

We also recommend this editorial from the Washington Post, which focuses on national death penalty developments in 2015: “The death penalty’s demise can’t come soon enough.”


Featured Events
January 18: TCADP will provide an information booth at the 23rd Annual MLK Community Celebration in Austin on Monday, January 18 at Huston-Tillotson University.  The festival will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM.  Email TCADP Communications Coordinator Vanessa Akins at Vanessa@tcadp.org if you would like to help with the booth.

January 26: El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty will hold their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 26 at 7 PM in the Pedro Maldonado Room of St. Pius X Catholic Church, 1050 N. Clark Dr.  All are welcome. For more information, call Pat Delgado at 915 740-3962.

January 27: Join the TCADP Lobby Corps as we deliver copies of our year-end report to all 181 legislative offices at the State Capitol.  A short training session will take place from 10 to 10:45 AM in the Capitol Extension.  Email Kristin at khoule@tcadp.org to volunteer.

January 30: TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houle will provide a workshop on the death penalty at the Texas Amnesty International State Conference.  The student chapter at Texas A & M University will host the conference, which will take place on campus in College Station from 9 AM to 7 PM. The death penalty workshop will take place from 1:45 to 2:45 PM that day. #AIUSATX16


End-of-year fundraising update
TCADP is immensely grateful to everyone who donated to our organization in 2015.  Thanks to our first-time donors, we raised $2,165 towards the $2,500 matching gift provided by the Tides Foundation.  We also heard from many longtime friends in response to our year-end appeals and raised $19,000 last month. We invite you to take your support to the next level by becoming a TCADP Partner for Justice or a Sustaining Member.