TCADP February 2016 Alert: Join us this month in Houston!

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: State of Texas prepares for third execution of the year
TCADP 2016 Annual Conference: Pre-register by February 13th
In case you missed it: National spotlight on Alfred Dewayne Brown
Updated resource: The real cost of the death penalty
Featured events: Attend the Houston premiere of “Graves Injustice”


Quote of the month
“For me, the great violence of execution isn’t really the moment when someone’s put in a chair and the electricity is turned on. The real violence of the death penalty, it’s in those moments, the hour before, when you’re seeing someone who’s healthy, who’s not a threat to anyone, have to say goodbye to the people around him because the state says, ‘We have to kill you.'”
– Attorney Bryan Stevenson, in an interview with Al Jazeera America, January 8, 2016


Scheduled executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Gustavo Garcia on February 16, 2016.  He was convicted of killing Craig Turski while robbing a liquor store in Plano (Collin County) in 1990. Garcia was 18 at the time of the crime.  His 15-year-old co-defendant, Christopher Vargas, was sentenced to life. On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Garcia’s appeal. Read more than 25 years of coverage of the case from the Dallas Morning News.

At this time, there are seven other executions scheduled to take place in Texas through July 2016.

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


TCADP 2016 Annual Conference
Register today for the TCADP 2016 Annual Conference: At the Epicenter of the Death Penalty! The conference will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Unity Church in Houston (2929 Unity Drive).

We are excited to announce that State Senator Sylvia Garcia, who represents Senate District 6 in Houston, will join Professors Rob Smith and Stephen Klineberg for our morning panel discussion. Senator Garcia will address political shifts in Harris County over the last decade and how this has impacted criminal justice practices and use of the death penalty.

Take advantage of pre-registration rates of $55 for TCADP members, $60 for non-members, and $25 for students. Note: Rates will increase after February 13th.  If you plan to attend the conference and would like to pay at the door, please email Kristin at khoule@tcadp.org by the 13th.

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.

Also, please note that anyone wishing to place an ad in the conference programreserve an exhibitor table, or sponsor a table at the awards luncheon must do so by this Friday, February 5th.

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


In case you missed it: National spotlight on exonoree Alfred Dewayne Brown
Alfred Dewayne Brown was released on June 8, 2015 after spending 10 years on death row as an innocent man. Brown is now, in his own words, “living life as it comes” with his mother in Louisiana. Recently, his case has been back in the spotlight with comparisons to the popular Netflix series, “Making a Murderer.”

recent article from the Washington Post highlights Brown’s enduring friendship with attorney Brian Stolarz, who began working on the case in 2007. Stolarz and a team of lawyers slowly uncovered the flaws and errors that led to Brown’s wrongful conviction. Little by little the two developed a strong friendship that continues today. “If I have a problem, I call him… We are actually brothers,” Brown said. Stolarz feels just as strongly about Brown, “Folks say I saved his life, but he saved mine.”

Read more from MSNBC and the Washington Post.

View the entire Pulitzer Prize-winning series about Alfred Dewayne Brown by TCADP 2016 Media Award Winner, Lisa Falkenberg.


Updated resource: The Cost of the Death Penalty
TCADP’s newly updated fact sheet on the cost of the death penalty includes new figures for death penalty cases vs. cases resulting in life in prison as well as recent examples of how the high cost of the death penalty is causing prosecutors across Texas to turn away from its use. Download it today.


Featured events
Austin: TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé will speak at the Public Affairs Forum hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin (4700 Grover Avenue) on Sunday, February 7th at noon.

College Station: TCADP North Texas Outreach Coordinator, Jason Redick, and TCADP Board Member, Pat Monks, will be attending the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Texas State Convention on Saturday, February 13th. YAL is partnering with state and national organizations to offer a one-day training and networking event designed to build stronger state cooperation, improve activists’ effectiveness, and inspire attendees to do even more to advance the cause of liberty. The conference will take place at Texas A&M University and will start at 10:00 AM.

Houston: “A Conversation from the Heart: An Evening with Anthony Graves” will take place at The Health Museum (1515 Hermann Dr.) in Houston’s Museum District on Friday, February 19, 2016 as a special kickoff to the TCADP 2016 Annual Conference the following day.  The event will feature an exclusive screening of “Graves Injustice: A One Man Stage Narrative” and a Q & A with Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years in prison, including 12 years on Texas’ death row, and faced 2 execution dates as an innocent man.  Since his exoneration in October 2010, he has served as a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform.

This event is sponsored by TCADP; Anthony Believes; Pete and Lyn Mefford; and The Health Museum.  Proceeds benefit TCADP and Anthony Believes.

Seats are limited, so purchase your ticket today!

Statewide: The first day of early voting in Texas’ primary election is Tuesday, February 16th. For more information about early voting locations, please visit http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/when/.

Save the date for Amplify Austin6 PM March 8th to 6 PM March 9th.  More details coming soon.

Thank you for standing with us as we advance change at the epicenter of the death penalty!