TCADP November 2016 Alert: Fewest executions in two decades

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: Texas will end 2016 with fewest executions in 20 years
Announcements: Register today for the TCADP 2017 Annual Conference; join us at the State Capitol next year for the 2017 Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty
In case you missed it: Part II of Fair Punishment Project report cites systemic problems in Dallas County; Texas Catholic Bishops issue powerful statement against the death penalty; national momentum for abolition
Featured events: Membership meeting in San Antonio; Lighting the Star in El Paso


Quote of the month

“Harris County has sent 126 men and women to be executed since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1974 – more than any other county or state, aside from Texas itself. My client, Alfred Dewayne Brown, could have been No. 127.”

– Attorney Brian W. Stolarz, in an opinion piece published by the Houston Chronicle on October 22, 2016.  His client, Dewayne Brown, was exonerated and released in June 2015.  Brian will serve as the keynote speaker at the TCADP 2017 Annual Conference in Austin.


Scheduled Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute John Battaglia on December 7.  He received a last-minute stay from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on March 30, 2016 to give his attorneys more time to develop claims he may be mentally incompetent for execution. More information on his case will be provided in our December Alert.

The State of Texas has put seven people to death in 2016; eight individuals have received stays.  This is the lowest number of executions in Texas since 1996. There have been 17 executions nationwide, including seven in Georgia.

There are currently five executions scheduled for 2017; all involve cases in North Texas.

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.


Announcements
TCADP 2017 Annual Conference
The TCADP 2017 Annual Conference will take place on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin.  The theme – Moving to Higher Ground  promises reflection on how far we’ve come and direction as to where we still need to go to fulfill our mission to end the death penalty in Texas.  Attorney Brian Stolarz will join us that day to deliver the keynote address during our Annual Awards Luncheon.

Online registration is now open!  Take advantage of pre-registration rates between now and February 8, 2017Sponsorshipvendor opportunities and program advertisements are also available.

2017 Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty
Join TCADP and Texas Impact at the State Capitol in Austin on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 for our second Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty.  Together, we will make sure legislators hear the loud and growing chorus of voices in opposition to the death peanlty. Register online today!


In case you missed it
Part II: Too Broken to Fix
On October 12, Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project released Part II of its report, Too Broken to Fix: An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties, which examines how the death penalty is operating in the handful of counties across the country that are still using it. The two-part report analyzed 10 years of court opinions and records from 16 “outlier counties.”  Part II includes Dallas County, where juries imposed a total of eight death sentences between 2010 and 2015. There hasn’t been a new death sentence in Dallas County since 2013, however.  Learn more.

Catholic Bishops call for an end to the death penalty
On October 10, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement calling for the abolition of the death penalty, denouncing its effects not only on victims and others immediately affected, but also on society. The Bishops declared that “Our call to abolish the death penalty is not a call to deny justice. On the contrary, it is a call to the whole community to recognize that the death penalty does not fulfill justice, nor does it console the inconsolable.” Read coverage from the Austin American-Statesman. Download English and Spanish versions of the statement.

National momentum for abolition
In response to the latest information from the Pew Research Center and with U.S. executions at their lowest number in 20 years, the decline of the death penalty has made national headlines. The New York Times’ Editorial Board recently stated, “the signs of capital punishment’s impending demise are all around.” On October 23, Joe Palazzolo of the Wall Street Journalcommented on the drastic changes in Texas, where “the Court of Criminal Appeals halted executions this year over questions about testimony by psychiatric experts and physical evidence.” One thing is for sure: the death penalty’s days are numbered.


Featured Events
El Paso
The Third Annual Lighting of the Star on the Mountain will take place on Sunday, November 27th from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM in the parking lot of the Center for Careers & Technology (1170 N. Walnut Street), in solidarity with Cities for Life, Cities Against the Death Penalty. For more information, contact Pat Delgado at phdelgado@hotmail.com.

Nacogdoches
The Organization for Faith, Education, and Community at Stephen F. Austin State University will host a one-day interfaith dialogue on injustices and its effects on local communities on Friday, November 4th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The conference will explore how different faiths understand and respond to issues of injustice.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers: Father Pat Delahanty, Chairman of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (and one of Kristin’s mentors), and Wen Stephenson, author and journalist.  For more information and to register for the conference, please visit https://faitheducationcommunity.org/conference/.

San Antonio
TonightNovember 1st, TCADP will host an organizing meeting at Travis Park United Methodist Church in the Labyrinth Room. Join us to learn more about TCADP’s current initiatives, plan future activities and public education events, and meet other members in the area. The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM. For more information, please contact Chris Hockman at sanantonio@tcadp.org.