Archive | TCADP

03 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

Get the latest news from TCADP in our September 2014 Alert

In this edition:
Scheduled executions: State of Texas set to carry out first executions in four months
Support clemency for Max Soffar: Urgent request for dying man on death row
Announcements: Seeking Lobby Corps applications and Annual Award nominations
In case you missed it: DNA evidence exonerates two men in North Carolina after 30 years
Upcoming eventsCheck out our calendar for September and make plans to attend an event near you!

Scheduled executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out its first executions in four months – and the state’s first since the horribly botched executions in Oklahoma and Arizona earlier this year. To date in 2014, Texas has executed seven people.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice still refuses to identify the pharmacy or pharmacist now supplying the drug that will be used in executions.

On September 10, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Willie Trottie for the 1993 murders of his former girlfriend Barbara Canada, and her brother, Titus, at the Canada family home in Houston. Canada’s mother and sister also were wounded in the attack.

On September 17, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Lisa Ann Coleman, who was convicted a decade ago in Tarrant County in the starvation death of 9-year-old Davontae Williams. The boy’s mother, Marcella Williams, took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and is serving a life sentence.

Attend a vigil in your community on the day of Texas executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Support clemency for Max Soffar
Imagine spending 34 years in prison – most of them on death row in Texas – for a crime you didn’t commit.  Now imagine being told by doctors that in a matter of months, you will die of liver cancer.  That’s the situation facing Max Soffar, who will die behind bars before any court can exonerate him… unless the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Texas Governor Rick Perry step in.  Learn more and take action today to support Max Soffar’s clemency petition.

Announcements: Seeking Lobby Corps applications and Annual Award nominations
TCADP is now recruiting its third class of Lobby Corps members! This dedicated group of people works with our staff and board members to advance our legislative agenda at the State Capitol.  We invite applications from our members and supporters, particularly those who live outside of Austin.  You don’t have to be a political junkie to participate – we’ll provide you with all the training, resources, and support you’ll need. Apply now to join the TCADP Lobby Corps.

TCADP is also accepting nominations for our annual Courage, Appreciation, and Media Awards. With these awards, we recognize outstanding individuals and/or organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions towards abolishing the death penalty in Texas.  All award winners will be honored at the TCADP Annual Conference on February 21, 2015 in Austin. Submit your nominations by October 15th.

In case you missed it
DNA Evidence Exonerates Two Men in North Carolina
Yesterday, Henry Lee McCollum, North Carolina’s longest serving death row inmate, and his half-brother Leon Brown, were exonerated and released from prison after serving 30 years for a rape and murder they did not commit. A judge dismissed all charges against them after new DNA evidence proved their innocence.  Like the case of Max Soffar (above), false confessions played a significant role in their wrongful convictions. Read more from the New York Times and the Death Penalty Information Center.  Learn about wrongful convictions in Texas.

Memories of Executions Haunt Former Public Information Officer 
Michelle Lyons witnessed 278 executions as the public information officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Read a fascinating new profile of her by Pamela Colloff (our 2011 Media Award recipient) appearing in Texas Monthly.

Upcoming events
Austin: TCADP’s bi-monthly luncheon will take place on Wednesday, September 24th from12:00 to 1:30 PM at The Egg & I (2525 W Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78757).  TCADP Board Member Les Breeding will share stories from his days as a legislative staffer at the State Capitol and how he became involved with anti-death penalty efforts in his hometown of Amarillo. RSVP to khoule@tcadp.org.

College Station: “Personal encounters with the Texas death penalty: The true stories of death row exonoree Anthony Graves and murder victim survivor Jan Brown” will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Center (603 Church Av., College Station TX 77840) on Thursday, September 25th at 6:30 PM in the Activity Center. Sponsored by St. Mary’s Aggies Promoting Life (SMAPL), TCADP, and the Anthony Graves Foundation. Contact Clotilde Pichon at 979-846-5717 or cpichon@aggiecatholic.org with questions.

El Paso: TCADP’s El Paso Chapter – El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty (EPADP) – will meet on Tuesday, September 30th at 7:00 pm in the San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Room of St. Pius X Church (1015 N. Clark Street).

Dallas/Fort Worth: “Journey to Justice: A Speakers’ Tour Featuring Death Row Survivor Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon” will take place in the Metroplex from September 28th – October 2nd. Saint Andrew Catholic Church (3717 Stadium Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109) will kick things off on Sunday, September 28th at 2 pm (download a flier to share). Other events will occur at the University of Texas-Arlington, Congregation de Latina, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in Carrollton, and the University of Texas-Dallas, among others. 

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 and 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 Juan’s powerful message of faith, courage, and survival to the Metroplex this fall. More details on other tour events coming soon.

Houston: The 2014 Civil Rights Conference will take place on Saturday, September 20th at Texas Southern University.  TCADP Founder Dave Atwood will talk about the death penalty during a Criminal Justice Workshop in the afternoon.

TCADP’s bi-monthly Fair & Just Lunch Series will take place on Tuesday, September 30th from12:30 to 1:30 PM at St. Anne’s Catholic Church (2140 Westheimer Road). Meet other supporters in the area and hear from TCADP member Julie Caso, who will share her story of becoming involved in the case of Milton Mathis and her experience of witnessing his execution by the State of Texas on June 21, 2011. As Julie says, “Mine truly is a story of going through life and the death penalty comes out of nowhere and changes me forever.” RSVP and order lunch from Jason’s Deli.

TCADP Advisory Board Member and noted author and activist Sister Helen Prejean will speak at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston on Sunday, October 5th at 3:00 PM. The church is located at 12955 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77079. Tickets may be purchased at the door ($10 for adults, $5 for students with ID).

San Angelo: TCADP Advisory Board Member and victim survivor Dr. Linda White will participate in “Stories of Reconciliation” on Thursday, September 18th from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PMas part of the annual “Season of Peace” sponsored by the Peace Ambassadors of West Texas. This year’s theme is “11 Days of Global Peace through Forgiveness.” Learn more.

San Marcos: TCADP Board Member and victim survivor Helene Burns will address the Young Americans for Liberty Chapter at Texas State University on Thursday, September 25th, 6:30 -7:30 PM.

Support our work to end the death penalty
TCADP depends on your generosity to support all of the events and programs described above. Your gift of $50 or $100 will go a long way toward defraying the cost of our speakers’ tour with Juan Melendez ($750 a day) and other priority initiatives. Donate to TCADP today!

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04 August 2014 ~ Comments Off

TCADP August 2014 Alert: Another look at two wrongful Texas executions

In this issue of TCADP’s August 2014 Alert:

Scheduled executions
Case updates
Re-examining wrongful executions
Summer 2014 Newsletter
In case you missed it

Scheduled executions and ongoing lethal injection debacle
No executions are scheduled to take place in Texas this month.  There currently are four executions scheduled in September and October and six in the first few months of 2015. Officials in Arizona were responsible for the nation’s third botched execution this year.  The execution of Joseph Wood on July 23 lasted for nearly two hours as he reportedly gasped and snorted on the gurney.  Arizona used the same combination of drugs – hydromorphone and midazolam – that led to Ohio’s botched execution of Dennis McGuire in January.  Records reveal that Wood was injected with 15 doses of the lethal drugs.

Like Arizona, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has shrouded our state’s lethal injection protocol in secrecy, refusing to identify the source of the drugs now used to carry out executions. In an interview last week,U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that death row inmates should have the right to know what drugs the state is using in executions.

For in-depth analysis of the controversy surrounding lethal injections, check out “Does it matter how a condemned man dies?” by Alex Hannaford, which appears in British GQ.

Case updates
Retired judges support appeal of Rodney Reed
On July 21, eight retired federal and state judges petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal from Rodney Reed, who is scheduled to be executed on January 14, 2015. Among them are Royal Ferguson of Texas, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Charles Baird, who served eight years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and four years as a state district judge in Austin. Read more.

Another look at two wrongful Texas executions
Evidence undermines “pillar” of Cameron Todd Willingham conviction
New evidence in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham significantly undermines the credibility of Johnny Webb, the jailhouse informant whose testimony was instrumental in Willingham’s conviction.  Willingham was executed in 2004 for the 1991 arson murder of his three daughters in Corsicana, despite compelling evidence of his innocence.

Maurice Possley, writing for The Marshall Project, a new nonprofit news organization focused on the criminal justice system, exposes the fact that the man who prosecuted Willingham, John H. Jackson, worked for years “to alter Webb’s conviction, speed his parole, get him clemency and move him from a tough state prison back to his hometown jail.” Possley notes “Had such favorable treatment been revealed prior to his execution, Willingham might have had grounds to seek a new trial.”  The Innocence Project has filed a grievance against Jackson with the State Bar of Texas. Read the full article in the Washington Post.

Questions continue to haunt case of Carlos DeLuna 
From the moment of his arrest to the night of his execution just six and a half years later, Carlos DeLuna maintained his innocence in the 1983 murder of convenience store clerk Wanda Lopez in Corpus Christi.  A 2012 article in the Columbia University Human Rights Law Review shed new light on his case and sought to resolve whether Texas executed the wrong person for this brutal and senseless crime.  Cataloguing in minute detail everything that went wrong in DeLuna’s case, this groundbreaking study by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students is now available as a book, The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution.

The book and its accompanying website comprise one of the most comprehensive investigations into a criminal case in U.S. history.  It also provides compelling evidence of the identity of the real killer: Carlos Hernandez, a violent and dangerous man well known to law enforcement yet ridiculed by prosecutors as a “phantom” of DeLuna’s imagination during his trial.  As an editorial in theDallas Morning News observes, the wrongful execution of DeLuna “should haunt us still today.”

TCADP Summer 2014 Newsletter now available online
In the Summer 2014 issue of our quarterly newsletter, Seizing the Momentum, you’ll find commentary by contributor Rex Castle on why he (and you) should sit on a death penalty jury; reflections by Rev. Jeff Hood on his 200-mile pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin; and highlights of recent TCADP activities.  Page 3 lists exciting special events on the horizon, as well as ongoing opportunities for your involvement.  Download it now!

In case you missed it
Death penalty not reserved for “worst of the worst” according to new study
new study of 100 people executed in 2012 and 2013, published in The Hastings Law Journal, shows that the death penalty system has failed to identify and execute “the worst of the worst.”  According to researchers, the overwhelming majority of those executed had deficits of at least one kind, such as intellectual disability, severe mental illness, or severe childhood trauma. Professor Charles Ogletree summarizes the data in an opinion editorial that appeared in theWashington Post. View an infographic and coverage of the study.

California’s death penalty ruled unconstitutional
An unprecedented ruling last month by U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney held that California’s death penalty is so dysfunctional and arbitrary that it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Vacating the death sentence of Ernest Jones, who has been on death row for almost 20 years, Judge Carney said the punishment cannot serve the purposes of deterrence or retribution when it is administered to a random few, decades after their sentencing.  Read the press release issued by our colleagues at Death Penalty Focus.

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02 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

Marking 38 Years of the “Modern” Death Penalty Era

Today marks 38 years since the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty and paved the way for the resumption of executions.  The Court’s decision in Gregg vs. Georgia on July 2, 1976 found that the new death penalty laws of several states (including Texas) “promised” to make the process fairer and less arbitrary.

Just four years earlier, the Court had overturned all existing death penalty laws in the case of Furman vs. Georgia, ruling that the death penalty system, as it was being administered, was arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory.  At the time, Justice Potter Stewart said death sentences were as cruel and unusual as being “struck by lightning.” 

We know that the death penalty remains as arbitrary and discriminatory today as it was in 1972, and that the promise of fairness that allowed for its return has not been fulfilled.  Our work to expose the flaws and failures of this broken, irreversible and unjust system is more important than ever, and I am grateful to all of you for standing with us.

I also want to extend a special welcome to those of you who recently stopped by a TCADP information table to pick up materials and join our contact list.  Thank you for supporting our mission to end the death penalty, once and for all.  I look forward to keeping in touch with you about our activities and hope to see you at a future event.

Wishing you a safe and happy July 4th,

- Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director

TCADP July 2014 Alert: 38 Years Ago Today…

In this issue:
Executions
In the News
Featured Events
Calendar

Executions
While we’re in the midst of an unusual three-month reprieve from executions in Texas, other states have proceeded with lethal injections in spite of ongoing concerns about the secrecy shrouding the process. Last month, three executions occurred within a 24-hour period in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Missouri.

The next execution in Texas is scheduled to occur on August 6, 2014. Manuel Vasquez was sentenced to death for the 1998 murder of Juanita Ybarra in San Antonio. Four other executionshave been scheduled between now and the end of the year.  Stay tuned to TCADP for updates and information on vigils in your area.

In the News
Must-read opinion pieces on the death penalty 
Last month, the San Antonio Express-News published two must-read op-eds on the death penalty.  In “In Texas, perfect storm for executions,” UT Law Professor Jordan Steiker reveals how “the lethal combination of undiscerning prosecutors, poor defense lawyering and ‘accommodating’ judges pushed Texas to the forefront of executions” in the United States. And in“Time to end death penalty in Texas,” Sam Millsap, former Bexar County District Attorney, and Roger C. Barnes, Chairman of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Incarnate Word, discuss how cost and the risk of executing the innocent “drive a growing distrust about the death penalty.”

Pastor walks 200 miles to raise awareness
On June 19, 2014, TCADP Board Member Reverend Jeff Hood, a Southern Baptist pastor, concluded a 200-mile pilgrimage on foot from death row in Livingston to the State Capitol inUniversity Baptist Church, AustinAustin as part of his quest to encourage dialogue about the death penalty.  Along the way, he engaged with other people of faith, concerned citizens, and curious bystanders at events in Huntsville, Bryan, and Austin.  View pictures of these events and Rev. Hood’s journey on TCADP’s Facebook page, and read coverage of the pilgrimage in the Huntsville Item, the Bryan-College Station Eagle, and the Huffington Post. Rev. Hood will offer reflections on his journey in the Summer 2014 issue of our newsletter, which will be published later this month.

Featured Events
Dallas:  TCADP’s bi-monthly luncheon will take place on Tuesday, July 15th at noon at Margaux’s Bridge Bistro (921 N Riverfront Blvd., Dallas 75207).  Photographic artist John Holbrook, who has photographed numerous people on death row, will engage participants through story.  RSVP to Rev. Jeff Hood at revjeffhood@tcadp.org.

Houston: On July 16th, death penalty expert Stephen B. Bright will speak at a special program and reception sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Houston.  The event will take place from 4 to 6 PM at the Federal Courthouse (515 Rusk Avenue, 11th Floor, Houston 77002). Bright, a Yale Law School Professor and President and Senior Counsel at Southern Center for Human Rights, will speak on “The Death Penalty for the Marginalized – and the Complicity that Makes it Possible.” RSVP by July 9th.

Austin: TCADP’s bi-monthly luncheon will take place on Wednesday, July 23rd from 12 to 1 PMat El Mercado Restaurant in South Austin (1302 South 1st St.). Jen Moreno, who is a Staff Attorney with the Death Penalty Clinic at UC Berkeley Law and one of the nation’s foremost experts on lethal injection, will be our special guest speaker.  Jen will talk about her work on challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution.  RSVP to khoule@tcadp.org.

Houston: Join us for the next installment of our bi-monthly Fair & Just Lunch Series on Tuesday,July 29th from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at St. Anne’s Catholic Church (2140 Westheimer Road). Meet other supporters in the area and hear from Billy Smith II, a photojournalist and photo editor with the Houston Chronicle.  He will discuss his work on the project “A Human Tragedy,” an interactive photo essay that examines the stories of 24 Texas exonerees who served lengthy prison sentences for crimes they didn’t commit.  RSVP and order lunch from Jason’s Deli.

El Paso: TCADP’s El Paso Chapter – El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty (EPADP) - will meet on Tuesday, July 29th at 6:30 PM in the San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Room of St. Pius X Church (1015 N. Clark Street). We will be showing the film “Incendiary: The Willingham Case,” the true story of the conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the arson murder of his three children in 1991 and the resulting scientific, legal and political firestorm that rages today. Contact Pat Delgado with questions at elpaso@tcadp.org.

Metroplex: From September 28 through October 2, TCADP will conduct a speakers’ tour in the Metroplex featuring Juan Melendez, who spent 17 years on death row in Florida for a crime he did not commit.  Murder victim family members, family members of death row inmates, and law enforcement officers will participate in the tour, as well.  If you are interested in helping with these events or have an idea for a venue, please contact Kristin at khoule@tcadp.org.  Details on other regional tours coming soon!

TCADP Calendar for July
13: Screening and discussion of the film “Grave Injustice”, the story of Anthony Graves, Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso (4425 Byron St, El Paso, TX 79930) at 10:30 AM
15: Dallas luncheon featuring photographer John Holbrook, 12 to 1 PM
16: ADL event with Stephen Bright in Houston, 4 to 6 PM
23: Austin luncheon featuring Jen Moreno, 12 to 1 PM
29: Fair & Just Luncheon in Houston featuring Billy Smith, 12:30 to 1:30 PM
29: EPADP monthly meeting, with film screening, 6:30 PM

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21 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

We are Amplifying Austin! We won the extra $1000!

Thanks to your incredible support and generosity, TCADP won an extra $1,000 for having the most donors between 1:00 and 2:00 PM through the Amplify Austin campaign!!  So far, we’ve raised more than $3,100 with donations ranging from $20 to $500 (not including that extra $1,000).  It’s been a great day!

We are grateful to Austin Board of Realtors for sponsoring the $1,000 booster prize between 1:00 and 2:00 PM.

Most of all, we’re grateful to YOU!!  Thank you for standing with us to end the death penalty in Texas, once and for all.

-Kristin & Vicki

p.s.  There’s still time to participate in Amplify Austin.  Just go to https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/TCADP/overview   before 6 PM tonight. Thank you!

Funds raised will support a Fall Speakers’ Tour that will include exonoree Juan Melendez.  These donations will appear as “I Live Here, I Give Here” on your credit card statements.

 

 

 

How can you help?

  • Sample Tweet – I love @TCADPdotORG and want to end the #deathpenalty! Join me in #AmplifyATX  http://bit.ly/1eWzBHfamplify austin logo
  • Sample Facebook – I’m ready to end the #deathpenalty! Are you? Join me for #AmplifyATX and support the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty http://bit.ly/1eWzBHf
  • Share this image and your support for TCADP on your social media profiles!
  • Forward this email to friends who might want to participate and ask them to join you in giving!

Thank you for supporting us in so many ways to end the death penalty in Texas!

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30 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP Photo Reflection of 2013

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, TCADP released its annual report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review. The report notes that Texas – along with the rest of the nation – is steadily moving away from the death penalty. While Texas remains the nation’s leading executioner, death sentences remain near record-low levels. Use of the death penalty continues to be geographically isolated and arbitrarily imposed…. Dallas County alone accounts for 20% of new death sentences in recent years.  Learn more of the report’s findings.

Thanks to your steadfast support and participation, we are dismantling the death penalty county-by-county.  TCADP cannot continue this work without you!

View this slideshow of highlights from some of our events over the past year.

 

2014 will bring exciting opportunities for TCADP to engage new partners in our strategic efforts to end the death penalty. Please support our organization by making a special end-of-year, tax-deductible donation so that we can continue these vital education and outreach programs.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity. Together, we will light the way to abolition of the death penalty in Texas.

With gratitude,

Kristin Houlé
Executive Director, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

p.s. We truly appreciate the gifts that so many of you have made this month. If you haven’t given already, save a stamp by making a secure online donation today!   Thank you!

Don’t Forget:  Register today for the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference, which will take place for the first time in Fort Worth!! Take advantage of our early bird registration rates of $45 for TCADP members, $55 for non-members, and $20 for students. Rates will increase after January 1st, so don’t delay! Learn more about the conference, including details on our 2014 panelists, award winners, and keynote speaker. See you in Cowtown!

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25 November 2013 ~ Comments Off

December 3 is Giving Tuesday!

givingtuesdaycrop#BlackFriday #CyberMonday #GivingTuesday – What is it all about?

Answer: #GivingTuesday (#GT) is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season.  It has been added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The second annual GivingTuesday is on December 3, 2013. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, we want the giving community to come together for #GivingTuesday.

Remember the important work of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty – TCADP on December 3.

Ideas for GivingTuesday:

  • Make your donation a gift in honor or memory of friends and family members. TCADP will send them a note on your behalf.
  • Give your friend(s) the gift of attending the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference – “Lighting the Way” to be held in Fort Worth, Texas February 22, 2014.  Early Bird registration rates available through January 1!
  • Give because you want to be a partner in the work to end the death penalty in Texas.

Save the Date – December 3 and support TCADP!

DONATE – www.tcadp.org/givingtuesday

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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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01 August 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP August 2013 Texas Death Penalty Alert: No Summer Siesta for Abolition Efforts

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
TCADP Summer Newsletter
Announcements
In the News
TCADP Membership Drive
Upcoming Events
Calendar

Executions
The State of Texas has carried out 11 executions to date in 2013, including 3 executions in July.  Nationwide, 22 executions have occurred this year.

While no executions will take place in August, there are five executions on the schedule between September and November.

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. 

TCADP Summer 2013 Newsletter500thexecution
Our summer newsletter was mailed to TCADP members in July and is now available online.

Front Page:  In June, the State of Texas carried out its 500th execution since 1982.  Who were these 500 men and women and what do their executions say about our criminal justice system?  Do the numbers match current attitudes in the U.S. and even in Texas? Read more about this Texas milestone.

Consider how one mother responded when her son, a Beaumont police officer, was killed in the line of duty. “Voices of Texas” can be found on page 4.

Death Penalty Developments on page 5 covers executions, stays, new death sentences, and updates on current cases in 2013.

TCADP has active and passionate members around the state of Texas who provide assistance in educating the public and recruiting new supporters. News from the Field can be found on page 9.

Check it out and share!

Announcements
Calling all policy wonks and novice lobbyists! TCADP seeks new applicants for its successful Lobby Corps program, established in 2012. Join the current group of a dozen 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.

In the News
More than 2,000 Cases Under Review for Potentially Flawed Scientific Testimony
Last month, the Innocence Project and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers announced an unprecedented agreement with the FBI and the Department of Justice to review more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence. According to the Innocence Project, “the review will focus on specific cases in which FBI Laboratory reports and testimony included statements that were scientifically invalid.” Under the agreement, capital cases, particularly those with an execution date, will be given the highest priority.  Cases where the defendant has been executed will also be part of the review. According to the Washington Post, the review has already identified 27 death penalty convictions “in which FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked defendants to crimes with exaggerated scientific testimony.”

ACLU Issues Report on Death Row Conditions
A new report from the ACLU, “A Death Before Dying: Solitary Confinement on Death Row,” chronicles conditions on death rows throughout the United States. According to the report, 93% of states lock away their death-row prisoners alone in their cells for 22-24 hours per day. TCADP Advisory Board Member Anthony Graves has written a blog and recorded a video to raise awareness of the report and the conditions he experienced while wrongfully incarcerated and held in solitary confinement on death row in Texas.

TCADP 2013 Membership Drive!
Did you like what you read in our summer newsletter? 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 sustaining gift through our Partners for Justice program. All donations to TCADP are tax-deductible.

Learn more about the benefits of TCADP membership.

Upcoming Events
August 12:  Criminal Justice Policy Session at Wesley UMC, Huntsville
Texas Impact will provide a brief overview of adult and juvenile criminal justice systems as they currently stand, with a specific focus on ways the faith community can support reform and advocate on behalf of individuals adversely impacted by the system. Topics will include conditions of confinement, racial disparity, juvenile justice, the criminalization of mental illness and capital punishment. This event is open to the public, but organizers would prefer an RSVP to 936-295-7459 to help prepare.

September 9: Author and Renowned Activist to Visit Lewisville
Sister Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking:  An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty, will be speaking at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Lewisville, Texas on Monday, September 9 at 7PM. She will discuss the 20th anniversary of the book’s publication and her work as one of the nation’s most prominent critics of the death penalty.  All are welcome!  St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church Worship Center, 1897 West Main Street, Lewisville, TX. www.stphilipcc.org

September 11: Austin Membership Luncheon
Join us on Wednesday, September 11 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM as we launch our bi-monthly lunch series in Austin. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Marilyn Armour, an Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and the Director of The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue. Dr. Armour will discuss her recent publication “The Ultimate Penal Sanction and ‘Closure’ for Survivors of Homicide Victims,” in which she compares the impact of the ultimate penal sanction on victim survivors in a death penalty state (Texas) and a non-death penalty state (Minnesota). Stay tuned for announcements about membership gatherings in other cities this fall!

Calendar
August
9: Film screening of “Juan Meléndez – 6446” at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Hall, 2709 Alabama Ave. El Paso, TX 79930. 7 pm. Contact elpaso@tcadp.org.
12:  Criminal Justice Policy Session, Wesley UMC – Huntsville, 5:30pm
19: El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
21: Dallas Religious Organizing Committee 6:00pm, Chapter meeting 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

September
7-9: Sister Helen Prejean at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, Lewisville, 6:00pm
11: Austin Membership Luncheon (bi-monthly) w/guest speaker Marilyn Armour of the UT School of Social Work and Institute of Restorative Justice, 12:00pm (The Egg and I Restaurant, Northcross Mall)
16: El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
18: Dallas Religious Organizing committee 6:00pm, Chapter meeting 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org
19: Scheduled Execution – Robert Garza
26: Scheduled Execution – Arturo Diaz

For more information about these events, email info@tcadp.org.

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

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