Archive | execution

13 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Attorneys for Robert Campbell Appeal to TX Governor Rick Perry to Grant Reprieve

For Immediate ReleaseMay 13, 2014

Contact: Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org or 512-441-1808 (office) or 512-552-5948 (cell) or Laura Burstein at Laura.Burstein@SquireSanders.com or 202-626-6868 (o) or 202-669-3411 (c)

Governor Perry is Asked for 30-Day Reprieve for Robert Campbell,a Person with Mental Retardation Scheduled for Execution Tonight

State Wrongfully Withheld Evidence of Low I.Q

(Austin, Texas, May 13, 2014) – Today, attorneys for Robert James Campbell asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to issue a 30-day reprieve of execution to allow time for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to thoughtfully consider his application for commutation of his death sentence to life without parole on the ground that he is intellectually disabled and therefore constitutionally exempt from execution. The letter, which can be accessed here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQNkZ5SWVLWVFLRXM/edit?usp=sharing states:

“In public statements, Governor Perry, you have said that you “believe it is wrong to execute persons with mental retardation” and that you share “strong moral sentiment against executing the mentally retarded . . . with most Texans.”  See Office of the Governor Rick Perry, “(Speech) House Bill 236,” June 17, 2001 (http://governor.state.tx.us/news/speech/10880/).  You have also maintained that ‘“we do not allow for the execution of the mentally retarded today in Texas.”’  Id.
On Monday, May 12, 2014, based on new information and evidence only recently uncovered in state files indicating that Mr. Campbell is a person with mental retardation, and therefore ineligible for execution, attorneys asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its recommendation against clemency for Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell is scheduled to be executed in Texas today at 6 p.m. CT.

According to legal filings and in the stay request to Governor Perry, Mr. Campbell’s attorneys point out that during prior state and federal judicial proceedings, the State of Texas failed to disclose two prior I.Q. test scores that tended to prove Mr. Campbell’s intellectual disability.  The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did not provide counsel with public school records, including the results of a score of 68 from an I.Q. test administered to Mr. Campbell when he was a schoolchild.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice similarly failed to disclose that Mr. Campbell scored a 71 on an I.Q. test administered by a state-employed prison psychologist shortly after Mr. Campbell arrived on death row at age 19.  Even more egregious is the fact that TDCJ flatly told Mr. Campbell’s attorney in 2003 thatno such IQ tests existed for death row prisoners.

An I.Q. test score of 70 or below is generally accepted as “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning” necessary to diagnose intellectual disability.  According to Mr. Campbell’s attorneys, every piece of substantial evidence supports this diagnosis, and a comprehensive evaluation by a highly qualified psychologist – a member of the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists, appointed to that post by Governor Rick Perry – has now confirmed it.

Mr. Campbell faces imminent execution despite the fact that no court has given meaningful consideration to extensive evidence that he is intellectually disabled. Unless the Board intervenes, Texas may execute a man who is mentally retarded, in violation of the Supreme Court’s now decade-old ban on such executions.

A powerful dissenting opinion issued last week by Judge Elsa Alcala of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) correctly called the evidence of Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation ‘compelling.’  She zeroed in on the fundamental unfairness of the court’s decision to reject his claim – the reason why this evidence was not available in 2003, when the CCA first turned away Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation claim.

In her dissent, Judge Alcala states, “It would be unjust to penalize [Mr. Campbell] for not uncovering such a falsehood previously, when he had no basis to believe that a falsehood had been conveyed to him. . . . This Court should not base its decisions that determine whether a person will live or be executed based on misinformation or wholly inadequate information.”

Here is the link to the letter from The Arc to Governor Perry:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQQlFnOVhVNUNEeE0/edit

Here is the link to the Request for Reconsideration to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQUXlmbFhfaDZzdTA/edit

Here is the link to Mr. Campbell’s habeas petition:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQZmFSMVBLcmpRcU0/edit

Here is the link to the CCA ruling and dissent:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQTXk5c1l1VGQzSHc/edit
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For more information, please contact Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.or512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948, or Laura Burstein at: at Laura.Burstein@SquireSanders.com or 202-626-6868 (o) or 202-669-3411(c).

 

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12 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

BREAKING: Gov. Perry Asked by the Arc to Stop Tuesday Execution of Intellectually Disabled Man

The Arc, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, just delivered the following letter to TX Governor Perry.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQQlFnOVhVNUNEeE0/edit

You’ll also find a press release from the Arc below.

May 12, 2014

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
RE:  Executive Clemency, Commutation of Death Sentence to Life Imprisonment for Robert Campbell

Dear Governor Perry, Chairman Owens, and Board Members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:

We write on behalf of The Arc of the United States to urge that, on the basis of his intellectual disability (ID), the death sentence of Robert Campbell be commuted to life without possibility of parole.

In its 2002 decision in Atkins v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the special risk of wrongful execution faced by persons with ID (formerly termed “mental retardation”) and banned the execution of persons with ID as cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.  536 U.S. 304.

News reports indicate that Mr. Campbell has been found by a highly qualified psychologist to have a diagnosis of intellectual disability with an IQ of 69.  Additional evidence suggests the state of Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice withheld two prior IQ tests showing an IQ of 68 from a test during elementary school, and 71 from his prison records.  We note Judge Alcala’s statement in her dissenting opinion: “It now falls to the federal courts and Governor Perry to ensure that Mr. Campbell, a person with mental retardation, will not be executed as a result of this disturbing violation by State officials of his most basic due process rights.”

The actions of state officials have created a gross miscarriage of justice regarding counsel’s efforts to appeal Mr. Campbell’s sentence.  The Arc is committed to seeking lawful outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities and will continue working to ensure that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on this issue is abided by in jurisdictions across the country.

The Arc is a non-profit organization which, for over 60 years, has dedicated itself to altering perceptions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to the education of the public about the true potential of persons with this diagnosis.  Over the decades, The Arc has advocated for the passage of state and federal legislation on behalf of people with disabilities and established a broad network of state and local chapters that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the country.  In addition to our longstanding interest in actively seeking justice in death penalty cases involving individuals with intellectual disabilities, The Arc of the United States recently received a grant from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance to start The National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD).  Backed by the knowledge of dedicated criminal justice professionals, we urge you to prevent a miscarriage of justice and commute the death sentence of Robert Campbell to life without possibility of parole.

Sincerely,

Peter V. Berns
Chief Executive Officer
The Arc of the United States

Amy Mizcles, LMSW
Executive Director
The Arc of Texas

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For Immediate Release

May 12, 2014

Contact: Sarah Bal; bal@thearc.org202.600.3494

The Arc Responds to the Scheduled Execution of Robert Campbell

Washington, DC – The Arc released the following statement about the scheduled execution of Robert Campbell, an individual with intellectual disability (ID). Campbell is scheduled to be executedtomorrow (Tuesday, May 13) at 6 pm in Texas, despite evidence showing he has ID. It has been reported that the state of Texas and The Texas Department of Criminal Justice withheld two prior IQ tests within the range for ID, showing an IQ of 68 from a test during elementary school, and 71 from his prison records. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in the Atkins v. Virginia case that executing inmates with ID is unconstitutional because it violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Robert Campbell’s appeal despite clear evidence showing that he has intellectual disability. To ignore experts and cross the line drawn by a more than decade-old Supreme Court ruling shakes the foundation of our legal system for people with intellectual disabilities.  It is unconscionable that key evidence about Mr. Campbell’s IQ was withheld in this life or death situation. The Arc asks the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to take up this case immediately to ensure that Mr. Campbell’s disability is taken into account and justice can truly be served.

“The Arc is committed to fighting for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and will continue our legal advocacy work to make sure the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on this issue is abided by in jurisdictions across the country,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

Through a two-year grant for $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), The Arc is developing the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability. This project is creating a national clearinghouse for research, information, evaluation, training and technical assistance for justice and disability professionals and other advocates that will build their capacity to better identify and meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), whose disability often goes unrecognized. Providing accurate, effective and consistent training for criminal justice professionals is critical.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

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12 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Texas Failed to Disclose Evidence that Man Facing Imminent Execution has Mental Retardation, According to Attorneys

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org or 512-441-1808 (office) or 512-552-5948 (cell)

Documents Show that Texas Failed to Disclose Evidence that Man Facing Imminent Execution has Mental Retardation, According to Attorneys

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Will Be Asked Today to Reconsider Clemency for Robert Campbell Based on New Evidence of Low I.Q. Test Scores that Were in the State’s Possession But Never Shared with Campbell’s Lawyers

(Austin, Texas, May 12, 2014) – Today, based on new information and evidence only recently uncovered in state files indicating that Robert Campbell is a person with mental retardation, and therefore ineligible for execution, attorneys will ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its recommendation against clemency for Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Tuesday, May 13, 2104 at 6 p.m. CT.

“It is an outrage that the State of Texas itself has worked to frustrate Mr. Campbell’s attempts to obtain any fair consideration of evidence of his intellectual disability,” said Robert C. Owen, an attorney for Mr. Campbell. “State officials affirmatively misled Mr. Campbell’s lawyers when they said they had no records of IQ testing of Mr. Campbell from his time on death row.  That was a lie.  They had such test results, and those results placed Mr. Campbell squarely in the range for a diagnosis of mental retardation.  Mr. Campbell now faces execution as a direct result of such shameful gamesmanship.”

According to Mr. Campbell’s attorneys, during prior state and federal judicial proceedings, the State of Texas failed to disclose two prior I.Q. test scores that tended to prove Mr. Campbell’s intellectual disability.  The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did not provide counsel with public school records, including the results of a score of 68 from an I.Q. test administered to Mr. Campbell when he was a schoolchild.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice similarly failed to disclose that Mr. Campbell scored a 71 on an I.Q. test administered by a state-employed prison psychologist shortly after Mr. Campbell arrived on death row at age 19.   Even more egregious is the fact that TDCJ flatly told Mr. Campbell’s attorney in 2003 that no such IQ tests existed for death row prisoners.

An I.Q. test score of 70 or below is generally accepted as “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning” necessary to diagnose intellectual disability.  According to Mr. Campbell’s attorneys, every piece of substantial evidence supports this diagnosis, and a comprehensive evaluation by a highly qualified psychologist – a member of the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists, appointed to that post by Governor Rick Perry – has now confirmed it.

Mr. Campbell faces imminent execution despite the fact that no court has given meaningful consideration to extensive evidence that he is intellectually disabled. Unless the Board intervenes, Texas may execute a man who is mentally retarded, in violation of the Supreme Court’s now decade-old ban on such executions.

A powerful dissenting opinion issued last week by Judge Elsa Alcala of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) correctly called the evidence of Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation ‘compelling.’  She zeroed in on the fundamental unfairness of the court’s decision to reject his claim – the reason why this evidence was not available in 2003, when the CCA first turned away Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation claim.

In her dissent, Judge Alcala states, “It would be unjust to penalize [Mr. Campbell] for not uncovering such a falsehood previously, when he had no basis to believe that a falsehood had been conveyed to him. . . . This Court should not base its decisions that determine whether a person will live or be executed based on misinformation or wholly inadequate information.”

Here is the link to Mr. Campbell’s habeas petition:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQZmFSMVBLcmpRcU0/edit

Here is the link to the CCA ruling and dissent:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQTXk5c1l1VGQzSHc/edit

Mr. Campbell’s attorneys also plan to appeal directly to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has the authority to issue a one-time, 30-day stay of execution.

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For more information, please contact Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.or, 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948.

 

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12 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Attorneys, Federal Judge Urge 5th Circuit to Reconsider Secrecy in Tuesday’s Scheduled Execution of Robert Campbell

This morning, attorneys for Robert James Campbell, who is scheduled to be executed tomorrow in Texas, filed a stay motion and an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the court, as a federal judge did on Friday, to reconsider its jurisprudence regarding the secrecy surrounding Texas’ lethal injection drugs, particularly in light of the recent horrific botched execution in Oklahoma. The appeal can be accessed here.

As today’s filing notes, Mr. Campbell’s “8th Amendment rights can only be protected if he is provided the information required to ensure a humane, non-torturous execution.” (p. 21) The appeal also states: “By depriving [Mr. Campbell] … of the means to determine whether his rights will be violated, Defendants are effectively nullifying those rights.” (p. 2)

Mr. Campbell seeks information about the source and testing of the drugs Texas plans to use in his lethal injection execution, scheduled for Tuesday at 6 pm Central time. Last week, following the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, Mr. Campbell filed a civil rights action and stay motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. It was only recently, with its purchase of the most recent batch of lethal injection drugs, that Texas began to follow the path of secrecy shared by Oklahoma in the weeks leading up to Mr. Lockett’s horrific death. The complaint can be accessed here.

On Friday, May 9, 2014, Judge Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas denied Mr. Campbell’s stay motion, writing:

“The horrific narrative of Oklahoma’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014 requires sober reflection on the manner in which this nation administers the ultimate punishment. While the law currently does not permit injunctive relief, this Court urges the Fifth Circuit to reconsider its jurisprudence that seems to shield crucial elements of the execution process from open inquiry.”

As Mr. Campbell’s attorney Maurie Levin commented, “The extreme secrecy which surrounded lethal injection in Oklahoma prior to Mr. Lockett’s execution led directly to the disastrous consequences. This is a crucial moment when Texas must recognize that death row prisoners can no longer presume safety unless full disclosure is compelled so that the courts can fully review the lethal injection drugs to be used and ensure that they are safe and legal.”

Texas’ lethal injection protocol calls for a single dose of pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is no longer legally available in FDA-regulated form, but only from compounding pharmacies, which operate outside of FDA oversight, making it impossible to know if the drugs have been properly prepared and tested in order to ensure the execution will be carried out in a manner that comports with the Constitution. In addition, documents show that TDCJ is in possession in midazalom, the first drug used in the botched execution of Mr. Locket: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQOTVldW11MGRPVE0/edit?usp=sharing

Executions in Oklahoma and South Dakota that used compounded pentobarbital appeared to have had serious problems. On January 9, 2014, Oklahoma executed Michael Wilson, presumably also using compounded pentobarbital as the first drug in the three-drug formula. Prior to losing consciousness, Mr. Wilson cried out, “I feel my whole body burning.” Those were his last words. The State has refused to provide any information about what might have gone wrong in Mr. Wilson’s execution, but expert pharmacologist Larry D. Sasich, PharmD, MPH, FASHP, signed a sworn affidavit stating, “It is my opinion that Mr. Wilson’s reaction is consistent with contaminated pentobarbital sodium injection.”

Dr. Sasich’s affidavit is here.

The sworn statement of another anesthesiologist, Dr. Waisel, is here.

In October 2012, in South Dakota, Eric Robert was executed using compounded pentobarbital. Witnesses reported that he “appeared to clear his throat and gasp heavily, at which point his skin turned a blue-purplish hue. Mr. Robert opened his eyes and they remained open until his death, and his heart continued beating for 10 minutes after he ceased to breathe.”

On April 14, 2014, in Texas, Jose Villegas was executed with compounded pentobarbital.  “As a journalist witness wrote:  “Just as the dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, he said, ‘It does kind of burn.  Goodbye.’  He gasped several times, then began breathing quietly. (pp. 11-12 of the civil rights complaint:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQakdBUFQyQndmMFk/edit?pli=1).” Additionally, there have been multiple documented problematic executions in Texas via lethal injection, detailed on pp. 13-14 of the civil rights complaint.

Additionally, Mr. Campbell’s case contains other areas of concern, highlighted in his state habeas filing, including intellectual disability, quality of legal representation, disparity in sentencing, and possible racial bias at trial. Testing indicates that Mr. Campbell is a person with intellectual disability. At the age of 18, he and another man, Mr. Lewis, committed a tragic rape and murder. Although the DNA evidence implicates the men equally, Mr. Lewis is now free while Mr. Campbell is on death row. Mr. Campbell’s right to post-conviction review was essentially forfeited by an appointed lawyer who filed a boilerplate brief that was identical to the ones he filed for four other condemned men. Finally, Mr. Campbell is an African American man who was prosecuted in Harris County, Texas, during an era which has been widely criticized for overt racial bias in other cases in that area. The state habeas filing can be accessed here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQZmFSMVBLcmpRcU0/edit

While the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals (CCA) denied Mr. Campbell’s habeas filing, its ruling was a close 5-4 split, including a powerful dissent by Judge Acala calling the evidence of Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation ‘compelling.’  Judge Acala noted the fundamental unfairness of the CCA’s decision considering that the reason that Mr. Campbell did not have the evidence in 2003 when the CCA first turned away Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation claim is that state officials affirmatively misled Mr. Campbell’s lawyers when they told him they had no records of IQ testing of Mr. Campbell from his time on death row. The state had such test results, and they placed Mr. Campbell squarely in the range for a diagnosis of mental retardation.  As Judge Alcala puts it, “It would be unjust to penalize [Mr. Campbell] for not uncovering such a falsehood previously, when he had no basis to believe that a falsehood had been conveyed to him. . . . This Court should not base its decisions that determine whether a person will live or be executed based on misinformation or wholly inadequate information.’” (p. 5 Read the Judge’s dissent here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQTXk5c1l1VGQzSHc/edit)

For more information, including information about the Texas lethal injection protocol, drugs in the TDCJ’s possession, background on previous disputes between TDCJ and pharmacies, contact Laura Burstein at Laura.Burstein@squiresanders.com(202) 626-6868. To speak to counsel for Mr. Campbell, contact Maurie Levin at maurielevin@gmail.com, and (512) 294-1540.

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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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10 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Federal Judge Urges 5th Circuit to Reconsider Lethal Injection Secrecy

Yesterday, in his denial of a civil rights challenge by Robert Campbell, who is facing imminent execution, Judge Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas stated:

The horrific narrative of Oklahoma’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014 requires sober reflection on the manner in which this nation administers the ultimate punishment. While the law currently does not permit injunctive relief, this Court urges the Fifth Circuit to reconsider its jurisprudence that seems to shield crucial elements of the execution process from open inquiry.

Judge Ellison did not grant a stay of execution to Mr. Campbell, “saying his hands were tied because of higher court rulings,” according to NBC News.

Mr. Campbell is challenging Texas’ right to execute him without disclosing the source of and other information about the compounded pentobarbital to be used in his execution, which is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Maurie Levin, one of Mr. Campbell’s attorneys at: maurielevin@gmail.com or 512-294-1540.

Read full coverage of yesterday’s ruling from NBC News.

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08 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Narrowly Dismisses Robert Campbell Appeal

This afternoon, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Robert Campbell’s application for post-conviction relief by the narrowest of margins – a vote of 5 to 4.  The appeal raised important claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and evidence of intellectual disability. Campbell is scheduled to be executed next Tuesday, May 13, 2014.  Below is a statement from Campbell’s attorneys regarding today’s decision from the state’s highest criminal court.

Statement from attorneys for Robert Campbell regarding the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision this afternoon to dismiss Mr. Campbell’s application for post-conviction relief

“We are deeply disappointed that a majority of the Court chose to wash its hands of its responsibility for Mr. Campbell’s fate.  The CCA’s decision today refuses any remedy for the abysmal performance of an attorney the CCA itself appointed.  That outcome mocks the Legislature’s promise that every condemned prisoner will have one full and fair opportunity for post-conviction review.  It is now likely that there will never be any meaningful examination of whether Mr. Campbell received effective legal assistance at trial.

“More gravely troubling, however, is the majority’s refusal to require a hearing on the urgent question of whether Mr. Campbell has mental retardation, and thus may not legally be executed at all.  Every piece of substantial evidence supports that diagnosis, and a comprehensive evaluation by a highly qualified psychologist has now confirmed it. Judge Alcala, in her powerful dissenting opinion today, correctly called the evidence of Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation ‘compelling.’  And she zeroed in on the fundamental unfairness of today’s decision – the reason why this evidence was not available in 2003, when the CCA first turned away Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation claim. Namely, State officials affirmatively misled Mr. Campbell’s lawyers when they told him they had no records of IQ testing of Mr. Campbell from his time on Death Row.  That was a lie.  They had such test results, and they placed Mr. Campbell squarely in the range for a diagnosis of mental retardation.  As Judge Alcala puts it, ‘It would be unjust to penalize [Mr. Campbell] for not uncovering such a falsehood previously, when he had no basis to believe that a falsehood had been conveyed to him. . . . This Court should not base its decisions that determine whether a person will live or be executed based on misinformation or wholly inadequate information.’

“It now falls to the federal courts and Governor Perry to ensure that Mr. Campbell, a person with mental retardation, will not be executed as a result of this disturbing violation by State officials of his most basic due process rights.”

May 8, 2014

- Attorney Robert C. Owen, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law

- Attorney Raoul D. Schonemann, Capital Punishment Clinic, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

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To arrange an interview with attorney Robert Owen, please contact Kristin Houle at 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948 (cell) or khoule@tcadp.org.

Read coverage of the court’s decision from the Austin American-Statesman.

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06 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Attorneys for Robert Campbell Seek Relief, Full and Fair Opportunity to Present Claims in Court

On May 5, 2014, attorneys for Robert Campbell, who is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on May 13, 2014, filed an application for post-conviction writ of habeas corpus in the 232nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  The application seeks a stay of execution for Mr. Campbell in order to give the court time to provide a full and fair review of his claims related to ineffective assistance of counsel and evidence of intellectual disabilities; to date, no state court has given serious consideration to these claims. Proceeding with his execution under these circumstances would be profoundly unfair.

Specifically, the application seeks relief on two key issues:

Mr. Campbell received ineffective assistance of counsel during his 1992 trial and in state habeas proceedings.  His trial counsel did not conduct a thorough investigation into potential mitigating evidence and, subsequently, failed to present substantial evidence of Mr. Campbell’s turbulent and deprived childhood to the jury during the punishment phase, or to explore obvious questions about Mr. Campbell’s cognitive impairment.  The attorney then appointed to represent him on initial habeas corpus proceedings was incompetent and filed a meaningless, boilerplate claim – identical to the claims he had filed in four other death penalty cases – on behalf of his client, with whom he never even met before filing the appeal.

- No court has considered evidence of Mr. Campbell’s intellectual disabilities, which bar his execution under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Atkins vs. Virginia (2002).  A recent comprehensive evaluation assessed his IQ at 69, and school records discovered by current counsel provide additional evidence of “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning.”

Statement from Attorneys for Robert Campbell Regarding the Application for Post-Conviction Relief

“Robert Campbell faces execution despite the fact that no state court has given full consideration to the ineffectiveness of his lawyers, at multiple levels, or the significant evidence of his intellectual disability.  His trial attorney failed to present jurors with a clear and compelling picture of Mr. Campbell’s violent and impoverished childhood, which could have persuaded them to spare his life – indeed, they deliberated on his fate for nine hours even without knowing the full story of Mr. Campbell’s deprived background.  This failure was compounded by the incompetence of the attorney appointed to represent Mr. Campbell in initial habeas corpus proceedings in state court, whose ineptitude erected insurmountable hurdles to meaningful review in subsequent proceedings in federal court.

“Mr. Campbell has also been denied the opportunity to present his Atkins claim of intellectual disability, which was dismissed in 2003 on the basis of a factual record that we now know was incomplete and misleading.  There is ample evidence to support the fact that Mr. Campbell is intellectually disabled and therefore may not legally be executed.  These compelling facts should not be dismissed on a technicality.

“Executing Mr. Campbell under these circumstances would be profoundly unfair.  We urge the court to grant relief to Mr. Campbell by staying his execution and providing him with the full and fair opportunity he deserves to present his claims to the court — this time with the assistance of competent counsel.”

- Attorney Robert C. Owen, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law

- Attorney Raoul D. Schonemann, Capital Punishment Clinic, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

May 6, 2014

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To arrange an interview with attorney Robert Owen regarding the application for post-conviction relief, please contact Kristin Houlé  at 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948 (cell) or khoule@tcadp.org.

For information regarding the Texas lethal injection protocol, drugs in the TDCJ’s possession, background on previous disputes between TDCJ and pharmacies, please contact attorney Maurie Levin at maurielevin@gmail.com and (512) 294-1540, attorney Jonathan Ross atJROSS@susmangodfrey.com and 832-659-8126 or Laura Burstein at Laura.Burstein@squiresanders.com, (202) 626-6868.

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