TCADP October 2017 Alert: Will Texas execute three people this month?

In this edition: 
Scheduled executions: Three executions scheduled for October in Texas
Announcements: Seeking Annual Award nominations & North Texas Outreach Coordinator applications; Registration for TCADP 2018 Annual Conference now open; Reverend Sharon Risher to serve as 2018 Keynote Speaker
In case you missed it: TDCJ stops using solitary confinement as punishment; The power of prosecutors
Featured events: Anthony Graves events in San Marcos and  Spring; Film screening in Houston; TCADP San Antonio Chapter meeting


Quote of the month
“Why is ignorance ever better than knowledge when it comes to an alleged wrongful conviction?”

– Mike Ware, executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas and former Special Fields Bureau Chief for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, which included the Conviction Integrity Unit.

“Texas schedules executions but refuses DNA tests that could prove innocence,” The Intercept, September 25, 2017.


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

  • On October 12, Robert Pruett is scheduled to be put to death for the murder of Corrections Office Daniel Nagel in the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas in 1999. Pruett has steadfastly maintained his innocence. No physical evidence connects him with the crime, and recent DNA analysis of the murder weapon revealed a DNA profile belonging neither to Pruett nor to Officer Nagle. Pruett has faced six execution dates in the past five years. Take Action: Contact Governor Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop the execution of Robert Pruett.
  • On October 18, Anthony Shore is scheduled to be put to death for multiple murders in Harris County. Sentenced in November 2004, Shore is the last white defendant to receive a death sentence in Harris County. If it proceeds, his execution would be the first out of Harris County this year. Harris County accounts for 127 executions since 1982 (more than any state except Texas).
  • On October 26Clinton Young is scheduled to be put to death for the murders of Doyle Douglas and Samuel Petrey in 2001 in Midland County. He is currently the only Midland County offender on death row.

Texas accounts for 5 out of the 18 executions nationwide thus far in 2017. Currently, there are three additional executions scheduled in Texas in the remaining months of 2017.

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
Seeking award nominations
TCADP is accepting nominations for our annual Courage, Appreciation, and Media Awards. With these awards, we recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions towards ending the death penalty in Texas.  All recipients will be honored during the awards luncheon at the TCADP 2018 Annual Conference on February 17, 2018 at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.  Submit your nominations by October 28.

TCADP seeks North Texas Outreach Coordinator
TCADP has extended the deadline for applications for our part-time North Texas Outreach Coordinator position.  We seek a motivated and experienced individual to continue our campaign aimed at reducing use of the death penalty in Dallas and Tarrant Counties. Apply by October 10, 2017.

Join us in Dallas next February for the TCADP 2018 Annual Conference
The TCADP 2018 Annual Conference – “Transforming the Landscape” – will take place on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.  We are honored to announce that Rev. Sharon Risher will serve as our keynote speaker.  Rev. Risher was a staff chaplain and trauma specialist with Parkland Hospital in Dallas from 2012-2016. Her mother, two cousins and childhood friend—Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Tywanza Sanders and Myra Thompson, respectively—were killed along with five others at Emanuel AME Church (“Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. As our keynote speaker, she will address her experiences with the criminal justice system in the wake of these horrific murders and her longstanding opposition to the death penalty.

Online registration for the conference is now open!  Take advantage of pre-registration rates between now and February 8, 2018. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.


In case you missed it
TDCJ stops using solitary confinement as punishment
Recently, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) stopped using solitary confinement as a punitive measure. 75 individuals were removed from punitive solitary confinement on September 1. TDCJ will still use “administrative segregation” – which is used for specific security threats – to separate almost 4,000 individuals from the general prison population. While many states have moved away from solitary confinement for death row inmates, Texas still continues the practice.

The power of prosecutors
In 2018, many district and county prosecutors are up for election in Texas. These prosecutors are the gatekeepers of criminal justice reform. Both the Brooklyn Defender Services and ACLU of California have launched programs to help voters become more informed about prosecutors. TCADP is currently compiling similar information about Texas prosecutors for our website.


Featured Events
October 10: Anthony Graves, who spent more than 12 years on death row before being exonerated, will speak at Texas State University in San Marcos on October 10 as part of the Common Experience. The event will be 7 p.m. in the Alkek Teaching Theater. It is free and open to the public.

October 11: The TCADP San Antonio Chapter will host a member meeting at the Law Alumni Room in the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library (1 Camino Santa Maria St.) at St. Mary’s Law School. The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM. For more information, please contact sanantonio@tcadp.org. The TCADP San Antonio Chapter meets on the second Wednesday of every month.

October 11: St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Spring is hosting an event featuring speaker Anthony Graves and Deacon Richard Lopez on October 11, 2017 at 7:30PM.  Please view this flyer for more information.

October 14: Join Witness to Innocence, Catholic Mobilizing Network, Journey of Hope, TCADP, and the Texas Defender Service for the Texas premiere of the film, “The Gathering;” which tells the story of Witness to Innocence, the only national organization of 159 exonerated death row survivors and their families. A panel discussion with death row exonerees and a murder victim’s family member will follow. The event will begin at 7PM at the Parsley Center Auditorium at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (8900 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 77036). Please RSVP for this event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-gathering-texas-film-premiere-and-panel-discussion-tickets-38156637530.

October 17“Justice Without Death” is an event at First Congregational Church in Houston. Hear and meet Journey of Hope storytellers and representatives from the Office of Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney, Tuesday October 17, 7pm – 9pm, 10840 Beinhorn Road, Houston.

October 22Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio will host a presentation by the Journey of Hope on 10:00am Sunday October 22 in the Labyrinth Room. Led by family members of murder victims joined by families with loved ones on death row, the exonerated, and others, the Journey of Hope puts a human face on the issue of the death penalty. Contact Shirley Watkins, sswat428@aol.com, for information on this event.

We will post information about other Journey of Hope events on our website as details become available.