Archive | Texas

03 November 2014 ~ Comments Off

Registration for TCADP’s 2015 Annual Conference now open and other updates…

In this edition of our monthly alert for November 2014:

Scheduled executions
Support clemency for Max Soffar
TCADP 2015 Annual Conference
In case you missed it
Upcoming events
Support TCADP through AmazonSmile

Scheduled executions
Outrageously, the State of Texas just set a December 3, 2014 execution date for Scott Panetti. Panetti, who has suffered from severe mental illness for more than 30 years, has a fixed delusion that Satan, working through the state, is trying to kill him for preaching the Gospel.  Read background information on his case and watch “Executing the Insane: The Case of Scott Panetti,” which includes heartbreaking interviews with several members of his family.

We will provide updates on this case as they become available.  Please contact TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org or 512-441-1808 for more information.

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, maybe weeks, you will die of liver cancer.  That’s the situation facing Max Soffar, who will die behind bars before any court can exonerate him.  The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recently denied his petition for clemency, citing the absence of an execution date. Read more from Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, and join him and Sister Helen Prejean in calling on Governor Rick Perry to grant clemency to Max so that he can die at home.  Sign this change.org petition!

TCADP 2015 Annual Conference
Registration for the TCADP 2015 Annual Conference – Death Penalty Fault Lines: A Seismic Shift in Ground – is now open!  The conference will take place on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.  Take advantage of our advance registration rates by December 31st. (Rates will increase on January 1st and then again after February 13th).  Renew your membership or join TCADP today to receive our special member rates. Look for an announcement from us later this month regarding our panelists, keynote speaker, workshops, and award recipients.

In case you missed it
Gallup Poll finds decreasing support for death penalty among Republicans
According to the annual Gallup Poll, support for the death penalty among Republicans has dropped nine points over the last decade.  Read more about the reasons behind the decline.

Pope Francis condemns the death penalty
On October 24th, while addressing a group of members of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis called on all people of good will to fight for abolition of the death penalty in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions.  Learn more from the National Catholic Reporter.

Upcoming events

If you haven’t done so already, please vote on Tuesday, November 4th!

Texas Families for Justice Rally
On Friday, November 7th at 1:00 PM, Texas Inmate Families Association, Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, and TX CURE will host a Texas Families for Justice Rally on the South steps of the State Capitol in Austin. Add your voice to the call for criminal justice reform and stand in solidarity with hundreds of family members, formerly incarcerated individuals, and supporters from across the state.

Fair & Just Luncheon in Houston
Join us on Tuesday, November 18th for the next installment of our bi-monthly Fair & Just Lunch Series in Houston, 12:30 to 1:30 in the St. Joseph’s Room at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.  RSVP and order lunch today.  More details coming soon.

Victim Offender Mediation Training
The Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue seeks applicants for its upcoming Victim Offender Mediation Training.  This three-day skill-based training is designed to give participants tools to conduct victim-centered Victim Offender Mediation for low-level crimes, neighborhood and community disputes, and issues involving juveniles and young adults. The training will take place in Austin from December 4-6, 2014 and costs $300.  Download more information and the registration form.

Information about other upcoming events is available here.

Support TCADP through AmazonSmile
If you shop on Amazon, please consider sharing some of your purchase power with TCADP.  Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to TCADP, if you designate us as your charitable organization of choice. Note:  You must log into your account through amazonsmile.com for your purchases to benefit TCADP.

Continue Reading

08 October 2014 ~ Comments Off

Manuel Velez, who once faced execution, is now a free man

Today, October 8, 2014, Manuel Velez – who once faced execution by the State of Texas – was released from prison in Huntsville. He will be reunited with his family in Brownsville, including his two sons, who are now 11 and 15 years old. His freedom is a momentous outcome in a case that has endured numerous legal twists and turns over the last nine years.

Read this press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented Mr. Velez.

The case of Manuel Velez is a hallmark of everything that can go wrong in a death penalty case… incompetent legal counsel, an unreliable and unrecorded police statement, prosecutorial misconduct, shoddy science, and false testimony by an “expert” witness regarding the likelihood of future dangerousness.

But for the intervention of capital defense attorney Maurie Levin and the incredible work of the ACLU and the law firms of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP, and Lewis, Roca, Rothberger LLP, Manuel Velez would still be under a sentence of death today.

Background on the case
On October 24, 2013, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction of Manuel Velez, who was sentenced to death in Cameron County in 2008 for the death of one-year-old Angel Gabriel Moreno. The baby was the child of Velez’s then- girlfriend, Acela Moreno, who served five years of a ten-year sentence for her role in the baby’s tragic death.  The court agreed with a state district judge’s assessment that Mr. Velez’s defense attorneys failed to present critical medical evidence of injuries the baby sustained in the weeks and months before his death – injuries that Velez could not have caused as he was working on a construction site in Tennessee at the time.

In 2012, the court threw out Mr. Velez’s death sentence after determining that the jury heard misleading testimony from an expert witness regarding the circumstances of incarceration if Velez was sentenced to life in prison.

According to the ACLU, “Even after Velez’s conviction was overturned, and in the face of overwhelming evidence of his innocence, the State refused to dismiss the murder charge against him unless he took a plea. Velez pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of injury to a child rather than face a new trial that could be plagued by the same injustices that sent him to death row.”

Read this statement from the Death Penalty Information Center.

For more background on this case, read this compelling piece by the always-amazing Pamela Colloff, executive editor at Texas Monthly.

The case of Manuel Velez is yet one more example of the problems with the death penalty in Texas and the egregious mistakes that can occur with a system that has the power to take the life of an individual.  As our friend Juan Melendez says, “You can always release an innocent man from prison, but you can never release an innocent man from the grave.”

Read about other wrongful convictions in Texas.

TCADP congratulates the ACLU and all of the attorneys whose hard work resulted in freedom for Manuel Velez.  We wish Mr. Velez and his family the best as he begins to rebuild his life.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

17 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Lisa Coleman

The State of Texas executed Lisa Coleman this evening, September 17, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her request for a stay.  She 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.  She will be eligible for parole in 2044.

It was the ninth execution in Texas this year, out of 30 nationwide.  Coleman was the sixth woman put to death in Texas since 1982 and the second in 2014.  Read more from the Washington Post.

Continue Reading

07 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

State Bar of Texas to Consider Allegations of Prosecutorial Misconduct in Case of Anthony Graves

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2014 

Please Contact: Kathryn M. Kase, (713) 222-7788 office; (713) 444-2044 cell; KMKase@texasdefender.org  

State Bar Has Found Just Cause to Pursue Disciplinary Action Against Prosecutor Who Wrongfully Convicted Anthony Graves

The Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas has made a “just cause” determination with respect to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against former Burleson County District Attorney Charles J. Sebesta, Jr. in his prosecution of Anthony Graves in 1994. As a result of Sebesta’s misconduct, Graves spent 18½ years of his life in prison, more than 12½ years of that on death row, for a crime he did not commit and of which he was later completely exonerated by honest prosecutors.

Mr. Sebesta has elected to have his case heard by an administrative judge. That means the State Bar grievance proceeding will stay confidential until a final determination is made and any sanction is imposed. If Mr. Sebesta had elected to have the case heard by a state district court, the case would have become public when the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed its complaint against Mr. Sebesta.

Anthony Graves twice faced execution dates during his incarceration. He filed his grievance against Mr. Sebesta on January 20, 2014. During the State Bar’s initial investigation, Mr. Graves also submitted an affidavit detailing how Sebesta’s unethical prosecutorial misconduct forever changed Graves’s life and the lives of those around him. A copy of that affidavit is provided with this announcement.

The State Bar of Texas has power to sanction Charles Sebesta for his unethical conduct, up to and including disbarment and loss of his license to practice law in Texas.

Statement by Anthony Graves:  “Twenty years of being victimized by Charles Sebesta is enough. I never should have been on death row, much less for 12½ years of my life. The courts and the State of Texas finally agreed, and acknowledged that I am completely innocent. Mr. Sebesta thinks he can just ignore all that and keep claiming that I am a murderer. He continues to assassinate my character, forcing me to explain myself and to defend myself. That is not right—an honest prosecutor admitted that I am completely innocent, and the State of Texas agreed. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that any lawyer who doesn’t believe in the presumption of innocence—much less an absolute and incontestable finding of innocence as happened in my case—doesn’t deserve to be a lawyer in our great State.

“I sought justice for a long time while imprisoned, having to trust the court system and the legal profession to care about justice, and to do the right thing. I am glad to see the State Bar of Texas now act favorably on my grievance at this stage. I am confident that the Bar will discipline Mr. Sebesta for his misconduct and do whatever it can to stop him from continuing to persecute me, a completely innocent man.”

Statement by Kathryn Kase, Executive Director, Texas Defender Service, and Counsel to Anthony Graves:  “We are pleased that the State Bar of Texas has determined that there is just cause to proceed against Charles Sebesta with regard to his conduct in the prosecution of Anthony Graves. Eight years ago, a federal appeals court determined that Anthony Graves was convicted in an unfair trial because Sebesta did not inform Mr. Graves’s counsel that the State’s main witness took full responsibility for the murder, and because Sebesta knowingly presented false and misleading testimony and information during Mr. Graves’s death penalty trial. Rather than try Mr. Graves again, honest prosecutors determined he was actually innocent of the crime and asked the State to release him. Not only did the State declare him completely innocent, it paid him some compensation for the wrongful conviction and imprisonment. By that point, Anthony Graves had spent 18½ years behind bars, 12½ of them on death row.

“As yet unresolved is whether this rogue prosecutor will be held accountable for his violations of law, ethical misconduct, and breaches of the public trust. Texas citizens deserve to be represented by zealous prosecutors, but only those who follow the rule of law, and who respect the presumption of innocence. A prosecutor’s duty is not simply to secure convictions, but to see that justice is done. Conviction of an innocent man like Mr. Graves through prosecutorial misconduct is abhorrent and undermines public trust and confidence in the Texas justice system. The way to restore that trust and confidence is to hold prosecutors like Charles Sebesta accountable when they violate their legal and ethical obligations.

“We are disappointed that Mr. Sebesta chose to have the Bar’s action against him proceed before an administrative judge, rather than before a court of public record. His conduct against Anthony Graves was in a public proceeding, and he continues to make public attacks on Mr. Graves. He should have defended his conduct in a public proceeding, for all to see. Regardless, Texas Defender Service will continue to assist both Anthony Graves and the Bar as Mr. Graves seeks this last measure of justice.”

###

Mr. Graves also is represented by Rebecca Bernhardt, Policy Director of Texas Defender Service, and by Neal S. Manne and Charles R. Eskridge III, both of whom are partners at Susman Godfrey L.L.P.

About Texas Defender Service:  Texas Defender Service is a non-profit legal services organization established in 1995 whose mission is to establish a fair and just criminal justice system in Texas. TDS seeks to reach those goals by improving the quality of representation afforded to those facing a death sentence and by exposing and eradicating the systemic flaws that plague the Texas death penalty.

About Susman Godfrey LLP:  For more than 30 years, Susman Godfrey has focused its nationally recognized practice on high-stakes commercial litigation. It is one of the nation’s leading law firms, with offices in Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. The firm’s lawyers often represent clients on a pro bono basis (free of charge), as Manne and Eskridge are doing here for Mr. Graves.

For more information please contact:   Kathryn M. Kase, Texas Defender Service, attorney for Anthony Graves, 713-222-7788

 

Continue Reading

19 June 2014 ~ Comments Off

Southern Baptist Minister Rev. Jeff Hood to Finish Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin to Abolish Death Penalty

Rev. Jeff Hood will conclude his 200-mile pilgrimage from Texas’ death row to the State Capitol in Austin today.  Please join us at the Capitol at 5 PM for a press conference and at University Baptist Church at 7 PM to hear Rev.Hood talk about his journey.  Check out this coverage of the pilgrimage in the Huffington Post, courtesy of Shane Claiborne at Red Letter Christians, and in the Bryan-College Station Eagle.  

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 19, 2014

A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Livingston to Austin

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Board Member, Center For Theological Activism Executive Director and Southern Baptist Minister Rev. Jeff Hood Concludes 200-Mile Walk

CONTACT:
Rev. Jeff Hood, TCADP Board of Directors
404-210-6760 (cell)
jeffrey.k.hood@gmail.com

EVENTS:
Austin, Thursday, June 19 at 5pm and 7pm

5pm                 

Brief Statement and Press Conference at the Conclusion of the Pilgrimage on the steps of the South Entrance of the Texas State Capitol

Members of University Baptist Church and other friends will join Rev. Hood at the conclusion of his walk at the State Capitol and will walk with him to the concluding Faithful Conversation at University Baptist.

7 to 9pm

A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Rev. Jeff Hood at the Conclusion of his Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin
University Baptist Church
2130 Guadalupe St.
Austin, Texas 78705

Of the pilgrimage, Rev. Jeff Hood remarked:

“Through walking in prophetic imagination, Jesus changed the world. On my pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin, I follow Jesus’ lead and with every step remind my fellow Texans that you cannot love your neighbor as your self and execute them.  It is my hope to ignite the moral imagination of my fellow Texans so that we might all rise up together with one courageous voice and declare the death penalty to be no more.”

Information:

The statements, press conferences and events are all open to the public.  An expanded version of the press release, with previous events, bio of Rev. Hood, and further info can be found here.

For more information on A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty contact Rev. Jeff Hood, TCADP Board Member, at (404) 210-6760 or jeffrey.k.hood@gmail.com

Jeff will provide updates on his pilgrimage on twitter // @revjeffhood and on the Facebook pages of Center for Theological Activism // https://www.facebook.com/centerfortheologicalactivism and Texas Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty // https://www.facebook.com/tcadp

For more information on the death penalty in Texas, contact Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director, at 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948 (cell) or khoule@tcadp.org

###

Continue Reading

09 June 2014 ~ Comments Off

TCADP Board Member to Embark on 200-Mile Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin

MEDIA ADVISORY
June 9, 2014

CONTACT:
Rev. Jeff Hood, TCADP Board of Directors
404-210-6760 (cell)
jeffrey.k.hood@gmail.com

A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Livingston to Austin

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Board Member, Center For Theological Activism Executive Director and Southern Baptist Minister Rev. Jeff Hood to Conduct 200-Mile Walk

 Dallas, Texas – Moved to pilgrimage in prayer for the abolishment of the death penalty, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Board Member Rev. Jeff Hood will conduct “A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Livingston to Austin” from Friday, June 13, 2014 to Thursday, June 19, 2014. The approximately 200-mile walk will begin at noon on June 13, 2014 with a brief statement and prayer outside of the Polunsky Unit 3872 FM 350 South, West Livingston, TX 77351, where individuals on death row are incarcerated, proceed through Huntsville, Texas, where individuals are executed, and College Station, Texas and conclude at 5pm on June 19, 2014 with a brief statement and prayer on the steps of the South Entrance of the Texas State Capitol.  Rev. Hood encourages people to interact with him along the journey and also at organized faithful conversations that will be taking place along the way at Wesley Memorial UMC in Huntsville, Santa Teresa Catholic Church in Bryan and University Baptist Church in Austin.

Of the pilgrimage, Rev. Jeff Hood remarked:

“Through walking in prophetic imagination, Jesus changed the world. On my pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin, I follow Jesus’ lead and with every step remind my fellow Texans that you cannot love your neighbor as your self and execute them.  It is my hope to ignite the moral imagination of my fellow Texans so that we might all rise up together with one courageous voice and declare the death penalty to be no more.”

WHAT:
A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Livingston to Austin

Starting with a Brief Statement and Prayer in Livingston

Faithful conversations at Wesley Memorial UMC in Huntsville, Santa Teresa Catholic Church in Bryan and University Baptist Church in Austin.

Concluding with a Brief Statement and Prayer in Austin.

WHEN:
Friday, June 13, 2014 at Noon to Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 5pm

WHERE:
Friday June 13, 2014: Livingston 

Noon
Brief Statement and Prayer
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
West Livingston, TX 77351

Pilgrimage along US-190 W

Saturday June 14, 2014: Huntsville
Pilgrimage along US-190 W

7 to 8pm
A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Rev. Jeff Hood on his Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
700 Texas 30
Huntsville, TX 77320

Rev. Hood will walk to pray outside the Walls Unit after the event.

Sunday June 15, 2014: Huntsville to College Station
Pilgrimage along TX 30

Monday June 16: College Station

Pilgrimage along TX 30

Members of Santa Teresa Catholic Church will join Rev. Hood around 11:30 and will walk with him to their congregation.

Noon
A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Rev. Jeff Hood on his Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin
Santa Teresa Catholic Church
1212 Lucky St, Bryan, TX 77803

Tuesday June 17: College Station to Austin
Pilgrimage Co Road 324 and 318 

Wednesday June 18: College Station to Austin
Pilgrimage Farm to Market 696 

Thursday June 19: Austin
Pilgrimage Outskirts of Austin and Into Downtown

5pm
Brief Statement and Press Conference at the Conclusion of the Pilgrimage on the steps of the South Entrance of the Texas State Capitol

Members of University Baptist Church and other friends will join Rev. Hood at the conclusion of his walk at the State Capitol and will walk with him to the concluding at University Baptist. 

7 to 9pm
A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Rev. Jeff Hood at the Conclusion of his Pilgrimage from Livingston to Austin
University Baptist Church
2130 Guadalupe St.
Austin, Texas 78705

WHO:
Rev. Jeff Hood is a theologian (MDiv and ThM), historian (MA) and bioethicist (MS) by academic training. Presently, Jeff is completing a doctorate in theology at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. A graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jeff is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. A passionate activist, Jeff serves as the Executive Director of Center for Theological Activism, on the Board of Directors of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and as a spiritual advisor on Texas’ Death Row. Jeff is married and has three young sons- twin toddlers and an infant.

Information:
The statements, press conferences and events are all open to the public.

For more information on A Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty contact Rev. Jeff Hood, TCADP Board Member, at (404) 210-6760 or jeffrey.k.hood@gmail.com

Jeff will provide updates on his pilgrimage on twitter // @revjeffhood and on the Facebook pages of Center for Theological Activism // https://www.facebook.com/centerfortheologicalactivism and Texas Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty // https://www.facebook.com/tcadp

For more information on the death penalty in Texas, contact Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director, at 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948 (cell) or khoule@tcadp.org.

 ###

Continue Reading

29 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

Texas Attorney General Rules in Favor of Government Secrecy Surrounding Lethal Injection Process

Today the Office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an order that defends secrecy at the expense of open government – reversing the position his office took in multiple prior opinions over the last six years.  In so doing, Abbott’s office ruled in favor of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, finding that they do not have to disclose information about the pharmacy or pharmacist supplying the lethal injection drugs used in executions.

The Attorney General’s Ruling also finds that TDCJ may keep secret their “DEA Registration”–a form that is required to purchase the lethal injection drugs. The DEA registration TDCJ has used to date lists them as the “Huntsville Unit Hospital” – a hospital that no longer exists.  That false information has provided TDCJ with a medical persona that has been used previously to mislead pharmacies about the reason for the purchase of lethal drugs.

The following is a statement from attorney Maurie Levin, whose public information request was denied by the Attorney General today:

“It is deeply disturbing and frankly quite shocking that the highest law enforcement official in the state has suddenly reversed his position on disclosure when it comes to lethal injection, particularly considering the horrifically botched execution in Oklahoma last month that was the direct result of secrecy surrounding the process.

‘Serious questions surround this about-face, including why our Attorney General, who once championed transparency, is suddenly now supporting secretive government practices.”

–       Maurie Levin, Attorney | May 29, 2014

The Texas Attorney General’s decision in response to the public information request can be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQZDUxQ2twZlpKNFU/edit?usp=sharing

Ms. Levin’s brief arguing for the need for transparency can be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQbHhrUFBlRDhaWmc/edit?usp=sharing

For more information, Maurie Levin can be reached at: maurielevin@gmail.com and 512-294-1540.

 

Continue Reading

06 May 2014 ~ Comments Off

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

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

Specifically, the application seeks relief on two key issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 6, 2014

###

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

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

Continue Reading