Archive | executions

08 August 2014 ~ Comments Off

“The Failure of Mitigation” Studies the Last 100 Executed

In early June, Robert Smith, Sophie Cull, and Zoe Robinson published the results of their study, “The Failure of Mitigation,” in The Hastings Law Journal.  The study takes an in-depth look at the last 100 executions in America and focuses on evidence of the following mitigating factors: mental illness, youth, childhood trauma, and intellectual impairment.

The study found that eighty-seven percent of the executed offenders possessed some combination of these mitigating factors: “nearly nine of every ten executed offenders possessed an intellectual impairment, had not yet reached their twenty-first birthday, suffered from a severe mental illness, or endured marked childhood trauma.”

More specifically, “fifty percent of the last hundred executed defendants around the country suffered from complex trauma … severe physical abuse, sexual molestations, domestic violence, the violent loss of immediate family and chronic homelessness.”

When considering the age of the offender, the study provides this bleak fact: “more than one-third of executed offenders committed a capital crime before turning twenty-five—the age at which the brain fully matures.”

These mitigating factors create diminished culpability and should remove other individuals, beyond juveniles and the intellectually disabled, from the death penalty spectrum.

For more information, please refer to the following sites:

Infographic and information regarding the study from the Death Penalty Information Center: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/5800

Op-ed by Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. in The Washington Posthttp://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-ogletree-the-death-penalty-is-incompatible-with-human-dignity/2014/07/18/c0849dea-0e6b-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html

Download the complete study from the Social Science Research Network: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2446950

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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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03 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

TCADP March 2014 Alert: Spring into Action

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Death Penalty Developments
Featured Events
TCADP 2014 Conference
In the News
Do you shop with Amazon?
Calendar and Volunteer Opportunities

Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out two executions this month:

  • On March 19, 2014, Ray Jasper is scheduled to be put to death. Jasper, a rapper who was 19 at the time of the crime, was convicted of murdering local studio owner David Alejandro and stealing his recording equipment in Bexar County in November 1998. His two co-defendants received life sentences.
  • On March 27, 2014, Anthony Doyle is scheduled to be executed for killing and robbing 47-year-old Hyun Cho, who was delivering a food order Doyle had placed to his parent’s home in Rowlett (Dallas County) in 2003. Doyle was 18 at the time of the crime.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Recent Death Penalty Developments
Texas has executed two people to date in 2014, out of ten nationwide. To date this year, there have been two new death sentences and one jury rejection:

  • On February 20, 2014, a Harris County jury sentenced George Curry to death for the slaying of 19-year-old Edward Virappen during a robbery at a Popeye’s Chicken in May 2009.
  • Brandon Daniel was sentenced to death in Travis County on February 28, 2014 for the murder of Austin Police Office Jaime Pedron in 2012. According to the Austin American-Statesman, jurors spent more than eight hours deliberating on the punishment for Daniel. This was the first new death sentence in Travis County since 2011.
  • On February 5, 2014, an El Paso County jury rejected the death penalty for Christian Martinez after finding him guilty of capital murder in the 2011 deaths of Amalia Flores, 58, and her daughter Jovana Flores, 20. Ten of the twelve jurors agreed that mitigating evidence warranted a sentence other than death.

Featured Events
Robert Redford’s “Death Row Stories” to Premiere on CNN
“Death Row Stories” is a new 8-part series premiering on March 9 on CNN that will examine actual death penalty cases. The show is produced by Robert Redford and narrated by Dead Man Walking star Susan Sarandon. Redford said, “This series is about the search for justice and truth, we are pleased to … tell these important stories and give a voice to these cases.” Prior to the premiere, CNN is offering interested parties an opportunity for a preview and the ability to participate in a Google Hangout featuring a discussion by the producers and law professors John Blume of Cornell and Robert Blecker of New York Law School. The Google Hangout will be held March 5 at 6 pm EST and is open to the public, but an RSVP is required. A promo for the show can be found here.  (CNN, “Death Row Stories,” Press materials; DPIC posted Feb. 21, 2014).

Help TCADP Amplify Austin!

amplify austin logoAmplify Austin is a community-wide day of online philanthropy sponsored by “I Live Here, I Give Here”, with the goal of raising $4 million in 24 hours for Austin-based participating nonprofits, including TCADP!

Last year we raised more than $5,000 through this campaign! 
Beginning at 6pm on March 20th, through 6pm on March 21st, TCADP is asking all of our supporters (not just those living in Austin) to increase their giving or give for the first time at the $25 level or above.  During the 24-hour giving period, you can give at https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/TCADP/overview.

Help us defend our title as the 1:00-2:00pm champions.  Last year, TCADP won a $1,000 bonus prize for having the most donors during the 1:00-2:00pm giving hour.  Let’s repeat in 2014!

Please concentrate your giving on Friday, March 21 – 1:00 to 2:00pm Central Standard Time!

You might even think about giving Friday, March 21, at:

1:12 PM for the 12 people exonerated from Texas death row
1:19 PM for the 119 Texas counties that have never sent anyone to death row
1:39 PM for the 139 countries that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice
1:43 PM for the 143 death row exonerations nationwide
1:50 PM for the 150 supporters who recently attended the TCADP conference

Can’t make it during that hour? No problem, just give during the 24-hour cycle of Thursday, March 20, 6:00pm to Friday, March 21, 6:00pm to make us eligible for more cash perks!  Learn more

Ways you can help TCADP Amplify Austin and fight Slacktivism!

  • Set an alarm on your phone, google calendar, Ical, Outlook, etc. for Friday, March 21 at 1:00pm and then go to https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/TCADP/ and give a minimum of $25.
  • Set up a special fundraising page for TCADP and seek support from your friends and family.   Do it here.
  • Sample Tweet – Who loves @TCADPdotORG and ending the #deathpenalty? Help TCADP #AmplifyATX 3/21 1:00-2:00pm! http://bit.ly/1eWzBHf
  • Sample Facebook – I’m ready to end the #deathpenalty! Are you? Check out #AmplifyATX and ways you can help TCADP! http://bit.ly/1eWzBHf

TCADP 2014 Annual Conference:  “Lighting the Way”
Our 2014 Annual Conference, which took place on Saturday, February 22 at University Christian Church in Fort Worth, included a record number of attendees, who all seemed to have great take aways from their day.  Videos of the keynote address and awards ceremony are available on the TCADP YouTube Channel.  Check out the photos!  See a compilation of the social media posts from the Conference – sfy.co/bbDe.

A tremendous thank you to the staff at University Christian Church and all the speakers, sponsors, and TCADP members and volunteers who made the conference possible.  Read more about them and everything that occurred at the conference in the programSave the date: TCADP 2015 Annual Conference, February 21, 2015 in Austin,Texas!

In the News
We recently noted the fact that 10 years have passed since Cameron Todd Willingham was executed by the State of Texas, despite strong evidence of his innocence and serious doubts as to whether the fire that took the lives of his three young daughters was caused by arson. Last week, the Innocence Project filed new documents with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in its petition for a posthumous pardon for Willingham. The documents point to new evidence that strongly suggests that jailhouse informant Johnny Webb received a deal from Navarro County District Attorney John Jackson in exchange for his testimony against Willingham at trial.

According to the Innocence Project, “This new evidence also strongly suggests that Jackson, who had since become a district court judge, deceived the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Navarro County District Attorney’s Office about the existence of a deal, which had they known about, would have almost certainly spared Willingham’s life.”   Read more about this latest development in the New York Times and Houston Chronicle. If you haven’t done so already, sign this petition calling on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate Willingham’s case.

Fundraising Opportunity: Amazon.com Supports TCADP!amazon
If you enjoy shopping on Amazon, please consider sharing some of your purchase power with TCADP.  Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

Please note:  You must log into your account through amazonsmile.com for your purchases to benefit TCADP.

Just click the box and connect your AmazonSmile account with TCADP!

Calendar and Volunteer Opportunities
March
4 Primary Election Day: Please Vote!

18 Dallas TCADP meeting, Cathedral of Hope in room CLC 196 at 6:30pm.

19 Scheduled Execution – Ray Jasper, 6:00pm

20-21 Amplify Austin – Concentrate your giving Friday, March 21 from 1:00 to 2:00pm if possible. https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/TCADP

22 TCADP Information Table at the Travis County Democratic Party Convention.  Contact info@tcadp.org to volunteer.

25 El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty meeting 7:00pm in the Mother Teresa Room of St. Pius X Catholic Church, 1050 N. Clark Street, El Paso.  All are welcome!  elpaso@tcadp.org

26 TCADP Lunch discussion, Austin 12:00-1:00pm.  Details TBD – Stay Tuned!

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.” collincounty@tcadp.org

26-27 TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé will visit Beaumont to speak with students at Lamar University and local members.

27 University of Houston NAACP Death Penalty Panel Discussion, H Fred J Heyne Room 43, 6:00-8:00pm. Featuring TCADP Board Members Angelle Adams and Pat Monks among other invited guests.

27 Scheduled Execution – Anthony Doyle, 6:00pm

April

4-6 TCADP information table at the Texas Junior State of America convention, Houston

12 Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty information table at Young Americans for Liberty Texas Convention, Texas State University 9:00-7:00pm.  *Conservative Volunteers needed to assist with table, please contact info@tcadp.org.

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06 January 2014 ~ Comments Off

January 2014 Texas Death Penalty Alert: Scheduled Executions, Annual Conference Feb 22, and Upcoming Events.

In This Edition: 
Scheduled Executions
Announcements
In the News
Fundraising Update
In Memoriam
Calendar

Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Edgar Tamayo on January 22, 2014 for the 1994 murder of Officer Guy Gaddis of the Houston Police Department. Tamayo, who is a Mexican national, was denied his right to seek consular assistance after his arrest, as required under article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Read more about his case here.

Please note that the scheduled execution of Edgardo Cubas has been moved from January 16 to May 29, 2014. Currently, seven additional executions are scheduled to take place in Texas over the next five months.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the evening of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter. 

Announcements: TCADP 2014 Annual Conference
Register today for the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference, which will take place for the first time in Fort Worth! Take advantage of our advance registration rates of $50 for TCADP members, $60 for non-members, and $25 for students. Rates will increase again after February 1st.

Our 2014 Keynote Speaker is Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders.  A Fort Worth native who knows and cares about his community, and those with whom he shares this planet, Bob Ray is a columnist who is not afraid to speak out on behalf of downtrodden people.

The morning panel discussion will feature Kathryn Kase, the Executive Director of Texas Defender Service, and Shari Silberstein, the Executive Director of Equal Justice USA.  Kathryn will address the role that Texas plays in the national movement and how our state serves as a model for collaboration around decreasing use of the death penalty.  Shari will frame the national movement and strategy for abolition, with a particular focus on state legislative efforts and on EJUSA’s new outreach effort, Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.

Learn more about the conference, including details on our 2014 award winners, hotel information, and sponsorship opportunities. See you in Cowtown!

In the News:  Reports on Texas, National Death Penalty Developments in 2013infographic3
TCADP’s year-end report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review, received coverage from numerous media outlets and was the basis for an editorial by the Dallas Morning News, “Dallas County’s dubious death penalty distinction,” (December 28, 2013). Copies of the report will be delivered to every legislative office in the State Capitol later this month.

For a national perspective on recent death penalty developments, check out this report from the Death Penalty Information Center and this editorial from the New York Times, “The Slow Demise of Capital Punishment” (December 29, 2013).

End-of-Year Fundraising Update
TCADP is immensely grateful to everyone who contributed to our organization in 2013. Responses to our year-end appeal topped all previous records and exceeded our goal of raising $15,000 in December! We invite you to take your support to the next level by becoming a TCADP Partner for Justice or a Sustaining Member. Visit www.tcadp.org for details!

In Memoriam
TCADP member Dr. John E. Johnson passed away on December 21, 2013 at the age of 88. He and his wife Shirley were long-time members and generous supporters of our organization.  Most recently, John and his daughter Susan attended TCADP’s membership gathering in September at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. We express our sympathies to his family and friends.

We also express our condolences to the family of Harold Simmons, who passed away on December 28, 2013. TCADP recently received a generous grant from the Harold Simmons Foundation in support of the 2014 Annual Conference and other projects.

Calendar
January
8: TCADP in Collin County meeting, Suncreek United Methodist Church, 7:00 PM, Allen; collincounty@tcadp.org
9: Panel discussion and book presentation of “Go Cowboys,” an artistic compilation of imagery of public executions across all nations and time periods since visually recorded history; University of Texas-Dallas Centraltrak Gallery, 7:00 PM http://larissa-aharoni.info/index.php?/works/go-cowboys)
17-20: MLK Day Activities are happening around Texas.  Be in touch with the TCADP office for more info; info@tcadp.org.
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
20: El Paso Chapter Meeting; Juan Diego Room in the Ministry Center of St Pius X Catholic Church, 1050 N Clark St, 7:00pm; elpaso@tcadp.org
21: Dallas Chapter Meeting, Cathedral of Hope in room CLC 196 at 6:30pm; dallas@tcadp.org
22: Delivery of TCADP year-end report to legislative offices at the State Capitol, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM; contact Kristin at khoule@tcadp.org to volunteer
23:  TCADP presentation to the MFSA Central Texas Annual UMC Conference Chapter, Georgetown 6:30 PM
29: “Fair & Just” Lunch Series in Houston, 12:30-1:30 PM, St. Anne’s Catholic Church – Professor Ana Otero from Texas Southern Law School will discuss the American Bar Association’s Texas Death Penalty Assessment; Bi-monthly membership luncheon in Austin featuring Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle (more details coming soon)
30: “Incendiary” Film Screening, 6:00 PM at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave., Denton, TX 76209

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

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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01 November 2013 ~ Comments Off

November 2013 TCADP Alert: Declining Public Support for the Death Penalty; Overturned Death Row Convictions; and a Special 2014 Annual Conference Announcement

strong>Executions and Case Updates

The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out one execution this month, on November 12:  Jamie McCoskey was convicted of kidnapping and killing 20-year-old Michael Dwyer in Houston in 1991.

Texas accounts for 14 out of 32 executions nationwide to date in 2013.  One additional execution is scheduled to take place in December.  The State of Texas is now using compounded drugs in lethal injections.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the evening of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter. 

There have been a number of significant case updates in recent weeks:  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) has overturned the conviction of Manuel Velez, who was sentenced to death in 2008; the CCA also ordered a competency hearing for Marcus Druery, who came within days of being executed last year despite evidence of his severe mental illness. In-depth coverage of the case of Rigoberto Avila, Jr. is available in this week’s Austin Chronicle; Mr. Avila is challenging his conviction based on new scientific evidence.

In the News:  Declining Public Support for the Death Penalty; 143rd Death Row Exoneration; and Honoring a Champion of Justice

Results from the latest Gallup Poll show that national support for the death penalty has dropped to its lowest level in more than 40 years, with 60% of Americans saying that they support capital punishment for convicted murderers.  According to the poll, a slim majority of Americans – 52% – believe that the death penalty is applied fairly in the United States.

On the same day that Gallup released its latest numbers, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) announced the addition of Reginald Griffin of Missouri to its Innocence List.  On October 25, prosecutors dismissed murder charges against Griffin, making him the 143rd death row exonoree in the United States since 1973, according to DPIC.  He is the first person exonerated in 2013 and the fourth in Missouri since 1999.  Griffin was sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of James Bausley, a fellow inmate at the Moberly Correctional Center in Moberly, Missouri.  Read more from the Kansas City Star.

The 12th person to be exonerated from death row in Texas, Anthony Graves, announced last month that he has used some of the compensation funds he received from the State of Texas to establish the Nicole B. Cásarez Endowed Scholarship in Law at the University of Texas Law School.  This scholarship honors attorney and journalism professor Nicole Cásarez, who spent eight years fighting to prove his innocence and secure his exoneration. Get the amazing full story from Texas Monthly.

Fall Newsletter
Read the Fall TCADP Newsletter Today!

In this issue:

Cover Story:  In September, the American Bar Association’s Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team released the results of its more than two-year study of the fairness and accuracy of the death penalty system in Texas. The report finds that from top to bottom, the Lone Star State is significantly out of step with practices in other states that allow the death penalty.

On the heels of the publication of the ABA Assessment, the Death Penalty Information Center released a compelling new report that illustrates the geographic isolation of the death penalty both in terms of executions and death sentences: The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. 


Member Spotlight: D’Lisa Harris-Abbott from Weatherford, Texas shares how she became involved in the death penalty and with TCADP after her nephew’s Army recruiter was convicted and sentenced to death.  Download and Share!

Announcements and Invitations

Registration for the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference Now Open! TCADP is excited to host the 2014 Conference: Lighting the Way at the University Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas on the edge of the beautiful TCU Campus.  Registration and hotel information is available now.  Early Bird Registration rates are available now for students, TCADP members and supporters!  Learn more and register at www.tcadp.org/cowtown.

We are thrilled to announce that Bob Ray Sanders, a columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, will serve as the keynote speaker at the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference.  Thanks to everyone who submitted nominations for our annual awards – recipients will be announced later this month. Register today!

Upcoming Events

Huntsville: Joe Byrd Cemetary Memorial – November 2

On Saturday, November 2, the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy will  gather at the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas to remember the 3,000 men and women laid to rest there.  Each gravestone will be marked with a single flower in recognition of their humanity, our own fallibility, and our common bond within the community of Texas.  All are welcome.  If you can’t attend, please make a donation to help purchase the 3000 flowers.  Please note at 9:00 a.m. – an Interfaith Prayer Service will be hosted at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church (700 Highway 30 E, Huntsville, TX, 77320), with light refreshments to follow. At 10:00 a.m. – Laying of flowers at the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery. For more information go to: http://www.texasinterfaithcenter.org/article/captain-joe-byrd-cemetery-huntsville-remembrance

Houston: TCADP Fair and Just Lunch Series – November 12

Please join TCADP on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 for the second FAIR & JUST lunch series in Houston!  Meet other supporters in the area and hear from special guest speaker Kristin Houlé, the Executive Director of TCADP, from 12:30 to 1:30 PM in the community room at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 2140 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77098. (Note: Access the church parking lot from Fairview Street is easiest due to construction on Westheimer.)  RSVP today! We’ll be ordering box lunches from Central Market at a cost of $10 per person.  You can place an order with TCADP and we’ll pick it up for you. You’re also welcome to bring your own lunch, if you prefer. Beverages will be provided. Questions? Please call TCADP Board Member Mary Heartlein at 713/419-9861 or TCADP Member Alison West at 713/598-4182.

Austin: TCADP Lunch discussion with Dr. Kate Allen, November 13

Please join other TCADP members and supporters in Austin on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 from 11:45am to 1:00pm for lunch at The Clay Pit Restaurant, 1601 Guadalupe St  Austin, TX 78701! The restaurant has a great lunch buffet which will make service easy for us. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Kate Allen.  She grew up in central Texas and worked on America’s East Coast, West Coast, and the Midwest before returning to Austin in 2000.  She has been a clinical social worker, professor of social work, psychotherapist, and trainer since 1973.  Dr. Allen is professor emerita from California State University, Sacramento.  Licensed in Texas and California, she has testified in and worked on dozens of cases in six states, including capital murder trials, 1st degree murder trials, and “failure-to-protect” civil cases. Dr. Allen is known as an Attachment Specialist, providing consultation, testimony, and training in that area. She will talk with us about her experiences as an expert witness in death penalty cases. We hope to see you at the Clay Pit on November 13. Please RSVP by Monday, November 11 for lunch and bring a friend!

In Memoriam
The Reverend Dr. Bruce W. Felker, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, and an outspoken critic of capital punishment, died on Sept. 17, 2013. Bruce was active in anti-death penalty activities with the TCADP Houston Chapter during the last few years, even while his illness weakened him. He spoke with passion against the death penalty at interfaith prayer vigils in Huntsville, in programs at his home church, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston, and while staffing a TCADP information table at the Texas UMC Annual Conference. He was proud to point out that his home state of Michigan has never had a death penalty law. During his recent memorial service at St. Paul’s, his anti-death penalty work was celebrated, along with the many other causes that Bruce championed. It was an honor to have Bruce among us in our work.  (Thank you to TCADP Houston member Jennifer Simmons for providing this tribute.)

Making Small Drops for Justice
Three years ago, TCADP launched our Partners for Justice and Sustaining Members programs, which provide our supporters with an easy, recurring way to donate. Collectively, these programs have generated more than $31,500 in steady income for our organization. This kind of reliable support is vital to the planning and implementation of our education, training, and outreach programs throughout Texas. Become a Partner for Justice today with your monthly pledge of $10 or more!  Thank you for supporting TCADP.

Calendar

November
1: I am Troy Davis speaker and book signing, 7:00pm UT Austin
2: Lobby Corps Training, Austin; Memorial Service for 3000 inmates at Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery, Huntsville
9: Catholic Mobilizing Network to host conference: “Where Justice and Mercy Meet: Catholic Opposition to the Death Penalty.” Online streaming available.
12: Houston Fair and Just Lunch Series, St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 12:30-1:30pm
13: Austin Lunch Meeting and Discussion, Clay Pit Restaurant, 1601 Guadalupe, 11:50am to 1:00pm
17: Houston: Archbishop Fiorenza will celebrate the 11am Mass and give a homily on the death penalty at the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, in solidarity with the Cities for Life…Cities Against the Death Penalty program sponsored by the Sant’ Egidio Community in Rome, Italy
18: El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org; Barry Scheck speaks at the Houston Progressive Forum 7:30pm
19: Dallas Chapter meeting 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org
20: (tentative) San Antonio Membership Meeting, 6:00 to 7:30pm, La Madeleine restaurant at 410/Blanco
21: TCADP Board President Angelle Adams will participate in a panel discussion on the death penalty sponsored by The Think Factory, a program of Lone Star Community College University Park, 4:00-6:00pm in the West Dining Hall on campus; Presentation to Dallas LULAC Rainbow Council
30: Cities for Life commemoration in Austin, sponsored by Pax Christi Austin and the Austin Friends Meeting – stay tuned for details!

December – Look for the TCADP Annual Report on the state of the Texas death penalty!

 

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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02 October 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP October 2013 Alert: Do you live in one of the top 15 executing counties in the United States?

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
In the News
Take Action
Announcements and Invitations
Upcoming Events
Membership Appeal
Calendar

Executions

The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out two executions this month:

  • On October 9, 2013, Michael Yowell is scheduled to be executed for the 1998 murder of his parents, John and Carol Yowell, in Lubbock. Read more from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
  • On October 29, 2013 Arthur Brown, Jr. is scheduled to be put to death for the 1992 drug-related killings of Jose Tovar, Jessica Quinones, Tovar’s 19-year-old daughter in law who was seven months pregnant, Audrey Brown, a neighbor of Tovar, and Frank Farias. The murders took place in Houston.

Please note Larry Hatten’s October 16 execution date has been withdrawn.

Texas accounts for 13 out of 28 executions nationwide to date in 2013. Last month, officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced that although their current supply of pentobarbital had expired, they had no plans to change the lethal injection protocol. Officials did not disclose the source of the drugs they now are using in executions in Texas. According to today’s Austin American-Statesman, attorneys for four death row inmates filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court alleging that “Texas has used a prison hospital that closed 30 years as a subterfuge address to obtain some execution drugs.” The lawsuit seeks full disclosure from TDCJ as to the source and nature of the drugs they plan to use in future executions.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the evening of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter. 

In the News
New Report Shows Use of the Death Penalty Concentrated in 2% of Counties Nationwide

 dpic video

Today, October 2, 2013, the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report, The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report shows that, contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely used nationwide, only a few jurisdictions employ capital punishment extensively. Only 2% of U.S. counties are responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976.   Nine counties in Texas are among the top 15 counties by execution since 1976.

The report notes that even within Texas, a minority of jurisdictions account for the majority of executions and death sentences. According to research by TCADP, just five counties account for more than half of the new death sentences imposed by Texas juries since 2008.

The new report from DPIC describes how aggressive use of the death penalty in relatively few counties produces enormous costs that are shifted to taxpayers in the entire state.

Go to http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/twopercent to read the report.

Texas Newspapers Endorse Recommendations of ABA Assessment of State’s Death Penalty
On September 18, 2013, the American Bar Association’s Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team published the results of its more than two-year study of the fairness and accuracy of the death penalty system in Texas. The report finds that our state is significantly out of step with better practices implemented in other states that allow the death penalty.

An editorial from the Dallas Morning News (“Higher Standards for the Ultimate Punishment,” September 18, 2013) provides a useful summary and recommendations for implementation by the legislature; the Austin American-Statesman editorial board also found “the report’s numerous well-considered recommendations worth supporting” (“Recommended death penalty reforms deserve consideration,” September 20, 2013). The ABA Texas Death Penalty Assessment is available at 
http://www.ambar.org/texas/. You’ll also find a summary of key recommendations on the TCADP blog.

Take Action Today
Support Renewed Calls for an Investigation into the Wrongful Execution of Cameron Todd Willingham
On September 27, 2013, family members of Cameron Todd Willingham, exonoree Michael Morton, and attorneys with The Innocence Project held a press conference at the State Capitol in Austin to urge the state to conduct an investigation into Willingham’s wrongful execution. Last year, Willingham’s family filed a posthumous pardon petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking that the state pardon Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for the arson murder of his three daughters despite compelling evidence of his innocence.  The Innocence Project has filed an amended petition on behalf of the Willingham family presenting newly discovered evidence that points to possible false testimony at his trial and possible prosecutorial misconduct that may have contributed to his wrongful execution. Read more about this case and take action today to support the call for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate the wrongful execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Announcements and Invitations
Call for Annual Award Nominations
The TCADP Board of Directors is seeking nominations for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which will be presented at the 2014 Annual Conference on February 22, 2014 in Fort Worth.  Please nominate worthy individuals and/or organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions to abolishing the death penalty in Texas. Nominations will be accepted until October 15, 2013.

Upcoming Events
Dallas/Richardson:  Film Showing and Discussion, October 11 and 12
LIVING CONDITION is an animated documentary that tells the stories of four families living with a relative condemned to execution.  Each family bears witness to the impact of capital punishment on whole communities, a perspective that is rarely, if ever, heard.  This film opens up discussions surrounding the Death Penalty and offers new perspectives on crime, justice, human rights, costs to society, and questions of racial equality.  The Dallas Video Fest will feature Bill Babbit’s story and an exhibition at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center will feature additional stories. Screened in partnership with Make Art with Purpose for MAP 2013.  http://www.artandseek.org/event.php?id=50673

Friday, October 11:  Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 W Jefferson, Dallas, 7:00-9-00pm

Saturday, October 12: Dallas VideoFest 3:00pm Alamo Drafthouse – 100 S Central Expy, Richardson, 75080  Q&A to follow screening will include TCADP Board Vice-President, Estrus Tucker.  Get Tickets to See “Living Condition” and “An Unreal Dream”

Screens with AN UNREAL DREAM: The Michael Morton Story>
In 1986, Michael Morton’s wife, Christine, is brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael is convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, he is forgotten by all but his parents and a small team of dedicated attorneys. In this “unreal dream,” the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man’s loss of freedom. Screened in partnership with Make Art with Purpose for MAP 2013.

Austin: Film Screening “Meeting with a Killer” and Panel Discussion, October 23
Linda White’s world was shattered when her 26-year-old daughter, Cathy, was murdered by two teenage boys. Years later, she met with one of her daughter’s murderers. The Emmy-nominated documentary film Meeting with a Killer: One Family’s Journey chronicles the events leading up to the meeting, its aftermath and how it inspired White to dedicate her life to helping victims’ families find peace and healing through restorative justice practices.

Ellen Halbert, herself a survivor of violent crime and director of Travis County District Attorney’s Victim Witness Unit, served as the facilitator for the meeting between Linda, Linda’s granddaughter, and Gary Brown, one of the men convicted of the murder. As a result of the experience, Ellen has become a proponent of restorative justice initiatives that meet the needs of victim survivors in meaningful ways.  The film showing will be followed by a panel discussion with Linda White and Ellen Halbert.

The evening is sponsored by the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue.  Approved by the State Bar of Texas for 1.25 hours of CLE including .25 hours of Ethics.  Approved for 1.25 Social Work CEUs. $5 includes event, reception, and CEUs.  Film Showing and discussion – 6:00pm – OFFICES OF MCGINNIS LOCKRIDGE, 600 CONGRESS AVENUE, SUITE 2100 – ONE AMERICAN CENTER.  Reception at 7:15, ROOFTOP TERRACE, 26TH FLOOR. Parking validation for the One American Center parking garage on 7th between Colorado and Congress.

Membership Appeal
Over the last week, TCADP has held six membership gatherings throughout the state, bringing together supporters to discuss our priorities for the coming year and opportunities for local involvement. Want to help TCADP do even more to increase and diversify our membership? Support our work with a generous donation today! Consider a recurring gift through our Sustaining Member or Partners for Justice programs. All donations to TCADP are tax-deductible.  Learn more about the benefits of TCADP membership.

Calendar
October
5: San Antonio: Respect Life Mass and For Life Fair, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, 1710 Clower Street 8:00am – 12:00pm
9: Scheduled Execution – Michael Yowell
10: World Day Against the Death Penalty event, KPFT Radio Houston 7-9:00pm
11: Exhibition and Reception for “Living Condition” Oak Cliff Cultural Center, Dallas, 7:00pm
12: Dallas Video Fest,  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema-Richardson Theater 3, 3:00pm
15: Dallas Chapter meeting – at Cathedral of Hope in room CLC 196 at 6:30pm, dallas@tcadp.org (Note new location!)
21: El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
22: Kristin Houlé to speak to classes at Houston Community College, Katy and SE Fraga Campuses
23: Austin:  Film Screening “Meeting with a Killer” and panel discussion, 6:00pm
25-26: University of Dallas Ministry Conference
28: Austin: Film Showing at St Albert the Great Catholic Church – “Dead Man Walking” 6:30pm
29: Scheduled Execution – Arthur Brown Jr.

November
2: Lobby Corp Training
12: Houston Fair and Just Lunch Series, St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 12:30-1:30pm
13: Austin Lunch Meeting and Discussion, Clay Pit Restaurant, 1601 Guadalupe, 11:50 to 1:00pm

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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02 October 2013 ~ Comments Off

New Report Shows Use of the Death Penalty Concentrated in 2% of Counties Nationwide

dpic video

Today, October 2, 2013, the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report, The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report shows that, contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely used nationwide, only a few jurisdictions employ capital punishment extensively. Only 2% of U.S. counties are responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976.   Nine counties in Texas are among the top 15 counties by execution since 1976.

The report notes that even within Texas, a minority of jurisdictions account for the majority of executions and death sentences.  According to research by TCADP, just five counties account for more than half of the new death sentences imposed by Texas juries since 2008.

The new report from DPIC describes how aggressive use of the death penalty in relatively few counties produces enormous costs that are shifted to taxpayers in the entire state.

Go to http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/twopercent to read the report and see more compelling infographics.

Continue Reading

04 September 2013 ~ Comments Off

September TCADP Alert: Taking Texas By Storm – We’re coming to a city near you!

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Announcements and Invitations
Upcoming Events
In the News
TCADP Membership Drive

Executions

The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out two executions this month:

  • Robert Garza is scheduled to be executed on September 19, 2013. He was convicted under the Law of Parties of the September 4, 2002 murders of María de la Luz Bazaldúa Cobarrubias, Danitzene Lizeth Vázquez Beltrán, Celina Linares Sánchez and Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres in Donna, Texas (Hidalgo County). Recently, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accepted a petition alleging serious human rights issues in his case. Please contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to urge clemency for Robert Garza (#999466): (512) 406-5852 is the number for the General Counsel’s Office.
  • Arturo Diaz is scheduled to be executed on September 26, 2013 for the 1999 murder of Michael Ryan Nichols during a robbery at a McAllen apartment (also Hidalgo County). Read more about his case from KRGV.com.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the evening of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter. 

Announcements & Invitations
Apply for the TCADP Lobby Corps
The TCADP Board of Directors recently met to review and update the 2013-2015 TCADP Strategic Plan. As part of that process, board members designated five priority initiatives for the organization over the next 18 months.  The expansion and development of the TCADP Lobby Corps is one such priority initiative. Join this group of specially trained advocates in advancing TCADP’s legislative goals during the interim session and at the State Capitol in 2015. Apply online by September 16, 2013. More information is available here.

Call for Annual Award Nominations
The TCADP Board of Directors is seeking nominations for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which will be presented at the 2014 Annual Conference on February 22, 2014 in Fort Worth.  Please nominate worthy individuals and/or organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions to abolishing the death penalty in Texas. Nominations will be accepted until October 15, 2013.

Upcoming Events
Monday, September 9: Listen to the extraordinary Sister Helen Prejean at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Lewisville, Texas, 7 PM. Worship Center, 1897 West Main Street, Lewisville, TX. www.stphilipcc.org

Wednesday, September 11: Join us for our *new* Austin Lunch Series
12-1 PM, The Egg & I Restaurant, 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin TX 78757
Meet other supporters in the area and hear from special guest speaker Dr. Marilyn Armour, Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and Director of The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue. RSVP now!

Monday, September 16: Meet State Representative Joe Moody at the monthly meeting of El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty, 7 PM in the Juan Diego Room, St. Pius X Church, 1050 N Clark Dr., El Paso 79905. Rep. Moody represents District 78 and serves on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Contact elpaso@tcadp.org.

Monday, September 23- Wednesday, September 25: Meet Me in the Metroplex
Mingle with TCADP supporters in your area and meet Executive Director Kristin Houlé as she visits the Metroplex from September 23-26, 2013.  Kristin will share information about TCADP’s priority initiatives in the coming year and discuss recent death penalty developments. She’ll also preview the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference, which is taking place next February in Fort Worth (our first conference in Cowtown).  We hope to see you at one of these gatherings!

  • Monday, September 23, 6-7:30 PM, Tarrant County Meet & Greet, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Tuesday, September 24, 12-1 PM, Dallas County Meet & Greet, Dallas, Texas
  • Tuesday, September 24, 6:30-7:30 PM Collin County Meet & Greet, Suncreek United Methodist Church, 1517 W McDermott Dr  Allen, TX 75013
  • Wednesday, September 25, 7-9 PM, Denton County Meet & Greet, Home of Rev. Jeff Hood, Denton, Texas 76209

RSVP for one (or all!) of these gatherings.

September 25: National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims
Please set aside some time on this day to honor and memorialize the lives of loved ones taken by murder/homicide. The National Day of Remembrance was established as a result of unanimous resolutions by the U.S. Senate on October 16, 2007 (S. Res. 326), and the U.S. House of Representatives on May 14, 2007 (H. Res. 223).

Thursday, September 26: Join us in Houston for our new FAIR & JUST Lunch Series
12:30-1:30pm in the community room at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 2140 Westheimer Road, Houston 77098.   Meet other supporters in the area and hear from special guest speaker Kathryn Kase, the Executive Director of Texas Defender Service. Kathryn will provide an update on the case of Duane Buck and other recent death penalty developments in Texas. Order lunch through TCADP or bring your own. RSVP now!

[San Antonio – we haven’t forgotten you! Please bear with us as we work to find a date for your next gathering.]

In the News
Dozens of new laws related to the Texas criminal justice system went into effect on September 1, 2013. An editorial by the Dallas Morning News, “Transforming Texas’ criminal justice landscape,” cites several specific reforms aimed at preventing miscarriages of justice and promoting alternatives to incarceration. Read it now.

TCADP 2013 Membership Drive!
Want to help TCADP do even more to raise awareness of the flaws and failures of the death penalty? Support our work with a generous donation today! Consider a recurring gift through our Sustaining Member or Partners for Justice programs. All donations to TCADP are tax-deductible.

Learn more about the benefits of TCADP membership.

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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