May 2013 Alert: Texas House Committee Considers Repeal of the Death Penalty, the Spring Newsletter, and Events Around Texas
Texas accounts for four of the ten executions carried out nationwide to date in 2013. The State has executed 496 people since 1982.
Two important legislative hearings related to the death penalty took place last month in Texas, and TCADP was there, every step of the way. On April 16, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee considered House Bill 2458, which seeks to prohibit the imposition of a death sentence or execution under any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race. The hearing included a lengthy exchange between legislators and TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé. Read about it here.
On April 29, starting at 10:50 PM, the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard testimony on House Bill 1703, which calls for the repeal of the death penalty in Texas. First up at the podium was Anthony Graves, who spent 12 years on death row and faced two execution dates for a crime he didn’t commit. Needless to say, he held the members spellbound with his story. Read our account of the hearing, and check out a compilation of Vicki’s live tweeting from the committee room!
Earlier that day, State Representative Jessica Farrar acknowledged Bob Van Steenburg, who served as the President of the TCADP Board of Directors from 2009 to 2013, from the floor of the Texas House of Representatives! House Resolution 478 by Rep. Farrar congratulates Bob on his service to the people of Texas and his tireless efforts to engage the public and legislators on the death penalty issue. Hooray, Bob!
We are grateful to everyone who contacted the members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last month to urge hearings on House Bills 1703, 2458, and 2614, and to the intrepid members of the TCADP Lobby Corps who stayed with us at the Capitol until midnight on Monday!
Please make one more call (or email) to the Committee members this week to thank them for conducting fair and open hearings on HB 1703 and HB 2458 and urge their support for repealing the death penalty in Texas. Contact information is available here.
In other legislative news, on Thursday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will sign the bill that repeals the death penalty in his state! Check the TCADP blog tomorrow for coverage.
Spring 2013 Newsletter
In this issue:
Voices of Texas: Diane Allen
2013 Legislative Session
Death Penalty Developments
“The Trial of Jesus” in Austin
News from the Field
Thank You, Members, Donors, and Partners for Justice!
Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty
Nearly 50,000 people have signed the petition by former Harris County prosecutor Linda Geffin for Texas death row inmate Duane Buck. Is your name on this list? Ms. Geffin, former Governor Mark White, and many other prominent Texans believe that Buck deserves a new sentencing hearing that is free from racial bias… during his original trial, the jury was told that Mr. Buck was more likely to pose a future danger to society because he is African American. Sign the petition now to express your outrage at this blatant display of racial discrimination!
Festivals, Conferences, Religious Gatherings?
It’s the season for community festivals and religious and civic gatherings! Do you know of any upcoming community events or meetings where TCADP could sponsor an information table and recruit new members? If so, please contact TCADP Program Coordinator Vicki McCuistion at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-441-1808. See the calendar below for examples of tabling events.
Join the TCADP Social Media Rapid Response Team!
Help TCADP expand its reach and communicate important messages online! Sign up today to be a part of the TCADP Social Media Rapid Response Team. (You don’t have to be in Texas to be helpful!) http://tcadp.org/social-media-team/
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1: Webinar: Addressing the Needs of Victims in Death Penalty Cases: The Role and Responsibility of the Defense http://bit.ly/11JSJFO
7: Scheduled Execution – Carroll Parr
10-12: Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas
14: The New Jim Crow in Texas w/ Michelle Alexander, King of Glory Lutheran Church, Dallas 1:00pm www.ntnl.org
15: Scheduled Execution – Jeffery Williams; Dallas Religious Organizing Committee 6:00pm, Chapter meeting 7:00pm, email@example.com
20: El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, firstname.lastname@example.org
21: Scheduled execution – Robert Pruett
25: Dallas International Festival*
31—June 2: United Church of Christ Conference, Dallas*
For more information about these events or to volunteer to staff a table at an *outreach event, email email@example.com.
Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!