Archive | Dallas

15 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

Death row exonoree to visit Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

“Journey to Justice: A Speakers’ Tour Featuring Death Row Survivor Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon” will take place in the Metroplex from September 28 – October 2, 2014.   Special guests will join Juan at select tour events.

Juan Melendez spent 17 years, 8 months, and 1 day on Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit. He was exonerated Juan Melendez in Rio Grande Valleyand released on January 3, 2002. A native of Puerto Rico, Juan has shared his extraordinary story about the injustices of the death penalty with tens of thousands of people throughout the world. We are excited to bring his powerful message of faith, courage, and survival to the Metroplex this fall.

Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Fort Worth will kick things off on Sunday, September 28th at 2 pm (download a flier to share).  

Here’s the full schedule of events:

Sunday, September 28th
2:00 to 4:00 PM:  Presentation by Juan Melendez at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 3717 Stadium Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109. Sponsored by St. Andrew’s Peace and Justice Task Force.  Free and open to the public.

Monday, September 29th
12:30 to 2:00 PM: Special luncheon with Juan Melendez.  Open to all TCADP members and supporters in the Dallas area. Celebration Restaurant, 4503 W Lovers Lane, Dallas, Texas.  Each participant will pay for his/her own lunch.  RSVP to Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org.

7:00 to 8:30 PM: Documentary screening and Q & A with Juan Melendez, Fellowship Hall at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas, Texas 75235.  Sponsored by Cathedral of Hope, Congregation de Latina, and Hope for Peace & Justice. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, September 30th
9:30 to 11:00 AM: Presentation by Juan Melendez at the UT-Arlington School of Social Work, Room 107, Building B of the Social Work complex.  This event is open to students, faculty and staff at UTA.

7:00 to 8:30 PM: Presentation by Juan Melendez and former Montague County District Attorney Tim Cole, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, 1901 E. Peters Colony Rd, Carrollton, Texas. The event will take place in the sanctuary.   Sponsored by Advocates for Peace and Justice (Holy Covenant’s Social Justice ministry), Center for Theological Activism, and North Texas Conference Board of Church and Society. Free and open to the public.

RSVP for this event on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/858803707465598/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Wednesday, October 1st
2:00 to 3:30 PM
(tentative): Presentation by Juan Melendez and former Montague County District Attorney Tim Cole, Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, Texas.

Thursday, October 2nd
3:00 to 4:30 PM: Presentation by Juan Melendez at the University of Texas-Dallas. The event will take place in the atrium of the Founders Building. Sponsored by John Marshall Pre-Law Society at UTD.  Free and open to the public.

7:00 to 8:30 PM: Presentation by Juan Melendez at Oak Cliff United Methodist Church, 547 E Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, Texas 75203.  The event will take place in the sanctuary. Free and open to the public.

This tour is sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), with support from the Harold Simmons Foundation.

Promote all tour events by sharing this flier!

Contact TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé with questions about any of these events: 512-441-1808 or khoule@tcadp.org.

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12 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Dallas Morning News Editorial Calls on Federal Courts, Gov. Perry to Stop the Execution of Robert Campbell

A new editorial from the Dallas Morning News, “Getting It Right” (May 10, 2014), calls on the federal courts and Texas Governor Rick Perry to stop the execution of Robert Campbell, which is scheduled to occur on May 13, 2014.  The editorial notes that many of the reform recommendations cited last week in a new report from The Constitution Project apply directly in Campbell’s case, namely the right to competent legal counsel and the need for improved safeguards against executing people with intellectual or mental deficiencies.  Here’s an excerpt from the editorial:

Had these provisions already been in Texas law, it’s doubtful that Robert James Campbell, 41, would be scheduled for execution in Huntsville on Tuesday. Convicted of the 1991 rape-murder of Houston bank teller Alexandra Rendon, 20, Campbell is set to die despite records indicating intellectual limitations that would render him ineligible, and despite lawyers who failed him at trial and in initial appeals.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a stay in his case last week, but a dissent by four of the nine judges objected that courts have yet to weigh school records and IQ tests that prosecutors and prison officials hadn’t turned over to the defense. Those records indicate “prima facie evidence of mental retardation,” the dissent said. The court majority, however, leaned on procedure in rejecting a review of the claims.

Campbell’s attorneys assert that prison officials “lied” in saying Campbell hadn’t been given an IQ test on death row; the appeals court’s dissent was charitable about that, calling it “misinformation.” Either way, it’s an outrage that the state is set to take a life when it is culpable in stacking the deck.

It would offend the sense of justice if Gov. Rick Perry or federal appeals courts allowed this execution to proceed.

Read the full editorial.  Read previous posts on Robert Campbell, including statements from his attorneys, here and here.

 

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31 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Anthony Doyle; Judge Orders TDCJ to Disclose Source of New Drug Supply

On March 27, 2014, the State of Texas carried out its fourth execution of the year, putting Anthony Doyle to death for the murder of 37-year-old Hyun Mi Cho in January 2003.   The victim was delivering food to Doyle’s family home in Rowlett (Dallas County) when he demanded money from her and then hit her with a baseball bat. He then hid her body and stole her phone, credit cards, and car.

Anthony Doyle was 93 days past his 18th birthday at the time of the crime.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for juvenile offenders – those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime.

On the day of Doyle’s execution, a state judge ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to disclose the source of its new supply of pentobarbital, which is the sole drug now used in the lethal injection process in Texas.  Citing “security concerns,” officials with TDCJ had refused to name the source of the drug that will  be used to execute inmates as of April 1st.  Three executions are scheduled to take place in Texas in April.

Dallas County accounts for 53 executions since 1982, behind only Harris County.  It accounts for 20% of new death sentences imposed in the last six years.

Read more about Anthony Doyle and the latest developments regarding the lethal injection drug supply from Fox News and Reuters.

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26 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

“Last 40 Miles” at Dallas International Film Festival

I was thrilled to hear that “The Last 40 Miles”, an innovative and compelling animated short film, will be shown next month during the Dallas International Film Festival. I hope you will have a chance to attend one of two screenings:

  • Monday, April 7, 7:00 PM at the Angelika Film Center (5321 E Mockingbird Ln #230, Dallas)
  • Tuesday, April 8, 9:30 PM at the Angelika Film Center

In the film, Raymond, a condemned man, takes his last journey from his solitary cell on death row in Livingston to the execution chamber 40 miles away in Huntsville, Texas. During the journey – his third such trip to the death house – his memories, the unexpected warmth of the guard escorting him, and his ever-present hope keep him company.

I was privileged to attend a viewing party for the film last December and can tell you that this short film, which is based on a true story, truly packs a powerful punch.

Watch the trailer here.

Buy tickets for one of the screenings here (tickets are $12 and can be picked up on site). The film will be shown as part of the Animated Shorts Competition.

Please let us know if you attend a screening and what you think of the film. Invite your friends and family members to go with you!

Questions? Email me at khoule@tcadp.org or visit http://diff2014.dallasfilm.org to learn more about the festival.

Best wishes,
Kristin

DFW Opportunities This Week!
Wednesday, March 26 Collin County meeting 7pm at Suncreek UMC, Allen. Meeting will include watching an episode of Robert Redford’s new series on CNN – “Death Row Stories.” Email collincounty@tcadp.org for questions.

Thursday, March 27 Scheduled Execution – Anthony Doyle, 6:00pm

Execution Vigils:
Dallas – Execution day at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Hope – Interfaith Peace Chapel (5910 Cedar Springs Rd). Local organizing meeting to follow at 6:30. Email dallas@tcadp.org for questions. Please attend!

McKinney, St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Community, 110 St. Gabriel Way, last Sunday of the month – March 30, following 11:00am Mass

Denton, the corner of Oak St. and Elm St. on The Square at 6:00pm

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13 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

Scheduled Executions of Ray Jasper and Anthony Doyle Highlight Arbitrariness of the Death Penalty

Ray Jasper and Anthony Doyle, both African American, are scheduled to be executed in the next two weeks for murders they committed as 18-year-old youths.  Their cases exemplify the arbitrariness of the death penalty, as the U.S. Supreme Court has banned this punishment for juvenile offenders under the age of 18.

Ray Jasper is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on Wednesday, March 19 for the 1998 robbery and murder of recording studio owner David Alejandro in San Antonio. His two co-defendants (both age 19 at the time of the crime) avoided the death penalty and received sentences of life in prison. If Jasper had been three months younger, he would not be facing execution.

According to an Urgent Action issued by Amnesty International, another concern in this case is the fact that the jury failed to include a single African American juror; prosecutors dismissed the two African Americans in the jury pool.  All 17 inmates still on death row from Bexar County are people of color.

Read more about Jasper’s case from Amnesty International.

You can also read a letter to Gawker from David Alejandro’s brother, Steven Alejandro, and an article in the San Antonio Express-News about other members of the Alejandro family, including the parents of David Alejandro (“Family prepares for execution of son’s killer,” March 15, 2014).

Anthony Doyle is scheduled for execution on Thursday, March 27 for the murder of 37-year-old Hyun Mi Cho in January 2003.  He was 93 days past his 18th birthday at the time of the crime. The victim was delivering food to Doyle’s family home in Rowlett (Dallas County) when he demanded money from her and then hit her with a baseball bat. He then hid her body and stole her phone, credit cards, and car.

According to an Urgent Action issued by Amnesty International, Doyle told police that he had intended to rob the delivery person so that he could support his three-week-old daughter. Psychologists testified at trial that Doyle had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and “was not physiologically or neurologically mature enough to inhibit emotions, restrain impulsive acts or consider options.” Similar to Jasper, if he had been just a few months younger he would not be facing execution.

Read more about Doyle’s case from Amnesty International.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on offenders below the age of 18 due to that age group’s impulsiveness, poor judgment, peer pressure, and underdeveloped sense of responsibility. While the court ruled that a line had to be drawn somewhere, it noted that the “qualities that distinguish juveniles from adults do not disappear when an individual turns 18.”  The cases of Ray Jasper and Anthony Doyle clearly exhibit the same reasons as those given by the Court as to why teenagers should not be sentenced to death.

Take Action Today
Please write or call Governor Rick Perry and the Clemency Section of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to ask for clemency for these two men.

  • Stress their youth at the time of their crime and the ability of young people to change and mature.
  • Include the specific facts of each case that should weigh heavily on the decision to grant clemency, such as racial discrimination in the jury selection process in Ray Jasper’s case and the scientific evidence regarding Anthony Doyle’s diminished mental faculties.
  • Remember to respectfully acknowledge the seriousness of their respective crimes.

You can take action on Jasper’s case directly through the website of Amnesty International USA.

Contact Information for Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
For appeals for Ray Jasper, please cite inmate number 999-341.

For appeals for Anthony Doyle, please cite inmate number 999-478.

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Information and Referral Hotline: (800) 843-5789 [for Texas callers]
Citizen’s Opinion Hotline: (800) 252-9600 [for Texas callers]
Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782 [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]
Online Contact: http://www2.governor.state.tx.us/contact

Board of Pardons and Paroles
Clemency Section
General Counsel’s Office
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78758
Phone (512) 406-5852, Fax (512) 467-0945
Email: bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us

 

 

 

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18 February 2014 ~ Comments Off

First Statewide Gathering of Anti-Death Penalty Movement Taking Place This Weekend in Fort Worth; Local Members Embark on “Faithful Pilgrimage” from Dallas to Fort Worth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
CONTACT - Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director                    

First Statewide Gathering of Anti-Death Penalty Movement in Fort Worth
Two state legislators to receive awards during annual conference

(Austin, Texas) — More than 130 grassroots advocates and supporters from across Texas will gather this Saturday, February 22, 2014 at University Christian Church in Fort Worth for the annual conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).  This event, “Lighting the Way,” will feature workshops, a keynote address by Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and a panel discussion on how Texas is lighting the way on the death penalty issue.   This is the first time that the TCADP Annual Conference, now in its 16th consecutive year, is taking place in Fort Worth.

During the conference, TCADP will honor two state legislators, presenting the 2014 Courage Award to State Representative Terry Canales (District 40 – Edinburg), in recognition of his public statement in support of ending the death penalty during the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1703 by State Representative Jessica Farrar (District 148 – Houston) during the 83rd Texas Legislature Regular Session.  House Bill 1703 called for repeal of the death penalty in Texas; it was the fourth such bill introduced by Rep. Farrar since 2007.

State Representative Lon Burnam (District 90 – Fort Worth) will receive the David P. Atwood Founder’s Award in recognition of his lifelong commitment to justice and his contributions to abolition and to TCADP both within and outside of the Texas Legislature.  The TCADP Board of Directors established the Founder’s Award in 2010 to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to the cause of ending the death penalty.

TCADP will present Appreciation Awards to longtime members Paula Keeth of Glenn Heights, Maria Castillo of Waxahachie, and Burnham Terrell of Houston (posthumous) in honor of their many activities in support of abolition of the death penalty and efforts to raise awareness of the issue within their communities.  Ariana Campos, currently District Manager for State Representative Jessica Farrar, also will receive an Appreciation Award in gratitude for her critical assistance with TCADP’s activities in the State Capitol.

“The theme of this year’s conference reflects the many shifts that are occurring – some subtle, others dramatic – across our state’s criminal justice landscape and on the death penalty issue, in particular,” said Kristin Houlé, the Executive Director of TCADP.  “Texas actually mirrors national trends when it comes to declining death sentences and is lighting the way in terms of the strength and sophistication of our movement.”

In conjunction with the conference, TCADP Board Member Rev. Jeff Hood, Rev. Wes Magruder, Chairman of the Board of Church and Society of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Lynn Walters, Executive Director of Hope for Peace & Justice, will conduct “A Faithful Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Dallas to Fort Worth” on Friday, February 21, 2014. The approximately 35-mile walk will begin with a press conference at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in the Frank Crowley Courts Building, 133 N. Riverfront Blvd., L.B. 19, Dallas, Texas 75207 at 8:30 AM and will conclude outside the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center, 401 West Belknap, Fort Worth, Texas 76196 at approximately 9:00 PM.

Of the pilgrimage, Rev. Jeff Hood remarked, “People of faith go on pilgrimage when their spirits are troubled by the times and there is a desperate need for prayer.  We have chosen to walk prayerfully from Dallas to Fort Worth to oppose the cycle of violence in the State of Texas that is perpetuated every time our District Attorneys pursue the death penalty and our government executes someone.  We hope to ignite the moral imagination of our fellow citizens so that we might all rise up together with one courageous voice and declare the death penalty to be no more.”

The TCADP 2014 Annual Conference will take place in the Fellowship Hall of University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Dr., Fort Worth, Texas 76109, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The keynote address and awards ceremony will take place from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.  All are welcome.

For more information about the conference, visit http://tcadp.org/what-we-do/annual-conference/ or contact Kristin Houlé at the information listed above.

For more information about the faithful pilgrimage from Dallas to Fort Worth or to speak with the participants, please call Rev. Jeff Hood at 404-210-6760.

TCADP is a statewide, grassroots advocacy organization based in Austin.

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15 January 2014 ~ Comments Off

Join us for these TCADP events in the Metroplex in January & February!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday!  We wanted to make sure you were aware of these upcoming opportunities for engagement in the North Texas area during January and February.  We hope to see you soon.

Dallas: Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and March – January 18
The march will begin promptly Saturday, January 18 at 10:00am at Dallas City Hall and end at Fair Park.  We welcome all to join us and march behind the TCADP banner.  Please begin gathering at 9:00am at the big bronze sculpture (a Henry Moore) in front of city hall plaza. For more information, or if you have trouble finding the group, contact David Noblin at 214-802-9706(cell). Look for the TCADP banner.

Fort Worth: Storytelling Circle with Families of the Executed – January 18
The Texas After Violence Project will host a special event: “Maybe he is speaking through me…” Listening to Families of Executed Texans – a Storytelling Circle in Fort Worth.

Featuring:

  • Derrek and Keith Brooks, sons of Charlie Brooks, Jr. executed on December 7, 1982
  • Stanley Allridge, brother of Ronald and James Allridge executed on June 8, 1995 and August 26, 2004 respectively
  • Opening remarks by Bob Ray Sanders, columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Circle keeper – Estrus Tucker, TCADP Board Vice-President
  • Select clips from the Texas After Violence Project oral history archive

January 18, 4:00-7:00pm
Tarrant County College, Trinity Campus, Trinity Building
Room Connect: TRTR 4102 on the 4th floor

Hosted by the Texas After Violence Project with support from the  Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation.  Co-sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Amnesty International, and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.

Looking for Possible Venues
TCADP is interested in hosting Bilingual TCADP Presentations & Conversations in Fort Worth and Tarrant County in Jan & Feb. Simple format can be a 75 minute agenda: 15 mins informal gathering/meet & greet; 30 minute audio visual; a 30 minute blend of Q & A, membership appeal & conference promotion & closing summary.  To book a presentation, please contact the TCADP office at 512-441-1808 or info@tcadp.org.

Denton:  “Incendiary” Film Screening on January 30
Described as “equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama,” the documentary film “Incendiary” focuses on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed by the State of Texas in 2004.  At least nine fire experts have questioned the evidence used to convict him of arson, and the case created quite a stir within the Texas Forensic Science Commission. We invite you to attend this free showing January 30, 6:00 PM at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave., Denton, TX 76209.

North Texas Clergy:  Prayer Breakfasts to be hosted in Fort Worth and Dallas
On February 22, TCADP will be hosting our Annual Conference at University Christian Church in Fort Worth.   In anticipation of this event and believing in the power of prayerful community, TCADP Board Member Rev. Jeff Hood has organized prayer breakfasts in Dallas and Fort Worth to facilitate fellowship amongst faith leaders concerned about the death penalty, to hear the voices of local leaders of this effort and to offer prayers for abolishment.

The TCADP Dallas Prayer Breakfast will take place at the Cathedral of Hope – 5910 Cedar Springs, Dallas,75235 on February 11 at 9am. The TCADP Fort Worth Prayer Breakfast will take place at Bread Fellowship – 2902 Race St. # 116, Fort Worth, 76111 on February 12 at 9am.  RSVP Today! 

January
18: RESCHEDULED DECEMBER EVENT  – “Listening to Families of Executed Texans – a Storytelling Circle in Fort Worth” Co-sponsored event with Texas After Violence Project, at the Tarrant County College Trinity Campus TRTR 4102, from 4 PM to 7 PM, Ft. Worth;
18: Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. March and Parade, Dallas City Hall 10:00am
21: Dallas Chapter Meeting, Cathedral of Hope in room CLC 196 at 6:30pm; dallas@tcadp.org
22: Scheduled execution of Edgar Tamayo Urgent Action!  Vigil Locations
30: “Incendiary” Film Screening, 6:00 PM at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave., Denton, TX 76209
31:  Last day to book Block Rate Hotel rooms for TCADP Annual Conference, www.tcadp.org/cowtown/

February
1 Last Day to Receive TCADP Annual Conference Advance Registration rates
11: Dallas Prayer Breakfast on the Death Penalty; 9:00 – 10:30 AM; Cathedral of Hope; 5910 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, Texas RSVP Today!
12: Fort Worth Prayer Breakfast on the Death Penalty; 9:00 – 10:30 AM; Bread Fellowship; 2902 Race Street #116, Fort Worth, Texas RSVP Today!

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17 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP Releases 2013 Year-End Report on Texas Death Penalty Developments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CONTACT: Kristin Houlé, Executive Director
512-441-1808 (office); 512-552-5948 (cell)
khoule@tcadp.org

Infographics are available at http://tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/.

One Third of All New Texas Death Sentences in 2013 Came from Dallas County,
According to New Report by TCADP

Seven of nine new death row inmates are African-American men and 11 of the state’s 16 executions this year were of people of color

(Austin, Texas) — One third of all new death sentences in Texas were imposed in just one county this year, according to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s (TCADP) new report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review.  The report documents Dallas County’s emergence as the state’s most active death penalty jurisdiction, accounting for 20% of new death sentences since 2008.

Over the last six years, Dallas County has imposed nearly twice as many new death sentences as Harris County, which alone has sent nearly 300 people to death row since 1976.

infographic3

Click the image to enlarge. See multiple infographics to share at www.tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/

Juries condemned nine new individuals to death in Texas this year, the same number of death sentences imposed in 2012.  New death sentences in Texas have declined more than 75% over the last decade and numbered in the single digits for the last five years.

A total of seven counties in Texas accounted for the new death row inmates in 2013.  Notably, three of the highest sentencing jurisdictions in recent years did not impose any death sentences this year, and no inmates were re-sentenced to death in the state.

Both geography and race continue to disproportionately impact death sentences in Texas: seven of the nine new death row inmates in 2013 are African-American men.  Over the last six years, half of all new death sentences in Texas have been imposed on African-Americans. In Dallas County, this pattern is even more pronounced – of the 11 men sentenced to death there since 2008, 8 are African-American and 2 are Hispanic.  All three of Dallas County’s new death sentences in 2013 were imposed on African-American men.

“While most of Texas is moving away from the death penalty, Dallas County has emerged as a major outlier in its pursuit of the ultimate punishment, particularly for defendants of color,” said Kristin Houlé, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.  “These troubling patterns directly counter Dallas’s reputation as a leader in criminal justice reform.”

Halfway through the year, the State of Texas carried out its 500th execution since 1982, putting Kimberly McCarthy to death for the 1997 murder of Dorothy Booth in Dallas County. McCarthy, who was African-American, was the fourth woman executed by the state and the first since 2005.

Her attorney argued that the jury selection process in her second trial was tainted by racial discrimination: of the twelve jurors seated at trial, all were white, except one, and eligible non-white jurors were excluded from serving by the State. While two earlier execution dates this year were postponed, the courts refused to intervene a third time.

The State of Texas carried out 16 executions in 2013, a slight increase from 2012, when 15 executions took place. Executions are now being carried out through the use of a compounded form of the drug pentobarbital, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been criticized for a lack of transparency when it comes to the state’s lethal injection protocol.

Of the 16 people executed in Texas this year, eight were African-American, five were white, and three were Hispanic.

“Although Texas is using the death penalty less, the state still uses it disproportionately against people of color,” said Kathryn Kase, Executive Director of the Texas Defender Service.  “Texas’s failure to effectively address this recurring problem demonstrates, yet again, the deep flaws in the state’s capital punishment system.”

Other highlights of Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review:

  • Texas accounted for approximately 42% of all U.S. executions this year and twice as many as any other state. 269 executions have occurred during the administration of Texas Governor Rick Perry (2001 – present), more than any other governor in U.S. history.  Texas has executed a total of 508 people since 1982.
  • Seven inmates scheduled for execution in 2013 received reprieves, including stays granted by the courts and the withdrawal of execution dates.  Four other inmates were granted modifications of their dates but were ultimately executed this year.
  • For the first time in six years, no one was re-sentenced to death in Texas.  Several long-standing cases in which the courts had ordered new punishment hearings were resolved with sentences other than death.  A total of four inmates received reduced sentences in 2013, including two from Harris County. Collectively, these four individuals spent approximately 80 years on death row.
  • Death-qualified juries rejected the death penalty in the sentencing phase in two trials this year and instead opted for life in prison without the possibility of parole.  In both cases, juries determined that mitigating evidence warranted a sentence other than death.  Over the last five years, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in more than 20 capital murder trials.

“Attitudes toward the death penalty are shifting as public confidence in the criminal justice system erodes,” said Houlé.  “At this critical moment in our state’s experience with the death penalty, TCADP urges concerned citizens and elected officials to confront the realities of this irreversible and costly punishment and seek alternative ways of achieving justice.”

TCADP is a statewide, grassroots advocacy organization based in Austin.

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Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review is available online at www.tcadp.org/TexasDeathPenaltyDevelopments2013.pdf.

TCADPInfographic2013

Click the image to enlarge. See multiple infographics to share at www.tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/

Contact report author Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org to receive a copy directly via email.  See the report for additional tables illustrating the race of defendants sentenced to death in the last six years and other recent trends.

Infographics are available at http://tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/.

See http://tcadp.org/2008-2013-new-death-sentences/ for a map of new death sentences by county from 2008 to 2013.

See http://tcadp.org/1976-2013-county-map/ for a map of death sentences by county from 1976 to 2013.

The following individuals are available for further comment on the topics raised by these year-end statistics:

  • Kristin Houlé, Executive Director, TCADP: 512-441-1808 (office) or 512-552-5948 (cell)
  • Kathryn M. Kase, Executive Director, Texas Defender Service: 713-222-7788 (office)

Join TCADP and guest moderator Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle today, Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM CST for a Twitter chat to discuss #Texas #deathpenalty trends and ask questions about this report.  Follow #2013TXDP for the chat and to ask questions.  @TCADPdotORG @chronic_jordan

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