TCADP February 2017 Alert: Countdown to our 2017 Annual Conference

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: Two executions scheduled this month in Texas, though one currently on hold
TCADP 2017 Annual Conference: Exciting program updates and upcoming registration deadlines
Legislative update: Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. files death penalty repeal bill
In case you missed it: Public radio series on the death penalty; TCADP’s Winter 2017 Newsletter
Featured events: Help TCADP Amplify Austin!


Quote of the month
“The integrity of our justice system demands answers, and in this case lawyers need more time to find them. Texas cannot afford to put someone to death without the certainty this irrevocable punishment requires.”
– Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, referring to the case of Terry Edwards.  The State of Texas executed Edwards on January 26, 2017 despite significant concerns about faulty forensic science, racial bias in the jury selection process, and prosecutorial misconduct.


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

  • On February 2, John Henry Ramirez is scheduled to be put to death for the robbery and murder of convenience store worker Pablo Castro in 2004 in Corpus Christi. He was convicted in 2008 in Nueces County and is one of three individuals on death row from that jurisdiction. On January 31, a federal district court granted a motion to stay the execution, but the State of Texas is appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. We’ll provide updates as information becomes available.
  • On February 7, Tilon Carter is scheduled to be executed for the robbery and murder of 89-year-old James Eldon Tomlin in April 2004 in Fort Worth. Following Carter’s sentencing in 2006, his appeals focused on the deficiency of his trial lawyers, as well as faulty jury instructions.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider his appeals last year. If it proceeds, Carter’s execution would be the second out of Tarrant County this year; there are two other individuals convicted in Tarrant County who are scheduled to be put to death.  Tarrant County accounts for 39 executions since 1982.

Texas accounts for two out of the four executions nationwide thus far in 2017. At this time, there are five additional executions scheduled in Texas through July.

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 2017 Annual Conference
The TCADP 2017 Annual Conference will take place at St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Join us for a full day of workshops, panel discussions, and networking, as well as the awards luncheon and keynote address.

Rates will increase after February 8, so register today!  You are welcome to pay at the door, or mail a check to the TCADP Office, but we need to know you’re coming.  Please confirm your attendance by February 8 by emailing Vanessa at vanessa@tcadp.org.

In addition to offering a diverse array of workshop sessions, we are delighted to present a panel discussion involving local journalists who cover the death penalty. They will discuss their approach to the issue and how this might have changed over the years.  Panelists also will address what they see on the horizon in terms of coverage of the death penalty this year.  Here are the confirmed panelists:

  • Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly
  • Joy Diaz, Texas Standard
  • Jolie McCollough, Texas Tribune
  • Ryan Poppe, Texas Public Radio

Freelance journalist and TCADP 2015 Media Award Recipient Alex Hannaford will serve as the moderator.

If you can’t join us for the full day, consider purchasing a ticket for the awards luncheon and keynote address by Brian Stolarz. Stolarz served as habeas corpus counsel to Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was exonerated in June 2015 after spending 10 years on Texas’ death row.

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


Legislative update
TCADP’s Lobby Corps already has had an active presence in the 85th Texas Legislature, which began on January 10.  In late January, we hand-delivered copies of our 2016 year-end report on death penalty developments to all 181 legislative offices at the State Capitol.  That same week, State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (our 2017 Founder’s Award recipient!) filed Senate Bill 597, which calls for repeal of the death penalty in Texas. Senator Lucio first filed this bill in 2015.

Thank Senator Lucio for his leadership through Twitter; use the handle @SenatorLucio.  Follow all things legislative using the hashtag #txlege.


In case you missed it
Public radio series on the death penalty
If you listen regularly to public radio, chances are you heard a story about the death penalty last week. Public radio stations across Texas recently collaborated on a remarkable series that explores the use of death penalty in our state — its history, how it’s changed, and its future. Here are a few of the stories that aired (others will be featured on the TCADP Facebook page):

Two contributors to the series – Joy Diaz and Ryan Poppe – will participate in the panel discussion at the TCADP 2017 Annual Conference.

Winter 2017 Issue of Seizing the Momentum
The latest issue of our quarterly newsletter features a recap of our year-end report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2016, as well as annual conference details and a North Texas Roundup.


Featured events
This weekend in Dallas
This Saturday, February 4, TCADP North Texas Outreach Coordinator Jason Redick will be a featured speaker at the Dallas Chorizo and Menudo Community Breakfast, hosted by Domingo Garcia, President, LULAC Chapter 102.  The meeting will take place at El Ranchita Restaurant (610 W. Jefferson Blvd; Dallas 75208) from 9 to 11 AM.

Amplify Austin
Amplify Austin, a 24-hour online fundraising festival, will take place from 6 PM on March 2 to 6 PMon March 3.  You can help TCADP win a $1,000 bonus prize for the fifth year in a row by donating between 1:00 and 2:00 PM Central Time on Friday, March 3. You can also help us reach our $10,000 goal by creating your own individual fundraising page.

Visit https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/fundraisers and follow the steps listed. We also recommend reading the Amplify Austin Individual Fundraiser Toolkit.

Create your page by February 27. If you need help, contact Vanessa at vanessa@tcadp.org.

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 penalty. Register online.