TCADP 2015 Annual Conference – Death Penalty Fault Lines: A Seismic Shift in Ground
TCADP is grateful to everyone who participated in our 2015 Annual Conference on February 21st at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin! It was wonderful to see so many new faces and longtime supporters, hear from our compelling speakers, and honor our incredible award recipients. We look forward to continuing our work together to draw attention to death penalty fault lines. Photos from the day will be available soon on our Facebook page.
TCADP would like to thank the following co-sponsors of the 2015 Annual Conference:
John Mimbela, Mimbela Contractors, Inc. in El Paso, Proclaim Justice and Quest for Justice
Awards Luncheon Sponsors
Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP and Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP
Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio
Rev. Jeff Hood
Methodist Federation for Social Action – Rio Texas Chapter
Keynote Speaker: Tim Cole
Tim Cole is a former district attorney with more than 20 years of experience in the courtroom. He has tried over 100 felony jury trials in North Texas, including every level of felony charge. Tim was elected to four terms as 97th District Attorney (Archer, Clay & Montague Counties; 1993 to 2006) and served as assistant district attorney in the 271st District (Wise, Jack Counties; 2010-2014). He also served as Counsel to Governor Clements in 1990 and General Counsel for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association from 1988 to 1990.
Tim’s work in high-profile cases has been written about and documented in major publications such as Texas Monthly. He also wrote about his personal experience in a death penalty case, “The Death Penalty Has a Face,” published by Texas Monthly in March 2013.
Tim has achieved certification in both Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law, currently the only two specialty certifications available to criminal defense attorneys in Texas. He now works in private practice as a criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth. Tim recently participated in TCADP’s Speakers’ Tour in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with death row exonoree Juan Melendez.
Panel Discussion: “Shifting the Ground Under the Death Penalty”
Pat Monks, a native Houstonian, has practiced law as a criminal defense attorney for 27 years and is a lifelong member of the Republican Party. He served as Chair of Precinct 718 of Harris County for more than 10 years and was a member of the Judicial Candidate Selection Committee of Harris County. Pat has attended nearly every precinct, senatorial, and State Republican Convention for the last 20 years. He has served on the TCADP Board of Directors since 2010 and is an active member of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.
Brian Stull is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, having joined the project in 2006. He has served as trial and appellate counsel in capital cases in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. Among other clients, Brian represented Levon “Bo” Jones an innocent man exonerated from North Carolina’s death row in 2008; Adrian Estrada, a Texas man whose death sentence was reversed when the ACLU discovered he had been sentenced to death based on false testimony; Manuel Velez, an innocent Texas man recently released from prison; and Max Soffar, an innocent man dying of liver cancer on Texas’s death row.
Brian authors ACLU amicus briefs filed in various appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and blogs concerning capital punishment for the ACLU Blog of Rights and other outlets. He has investigated conditions of confinement on Texas’s death row and advocated for needed improvements. A native of the first execution-abolition state, Michigan, and an M.S.W. social worker before his legal career, Brian graduated from New York University School of Law, where he trained under capital defense luminary Tony Amsterdam.
Moderator: Dr. Mike Renquist, TCADP Board of Directors
2015 Award Winners
The TCADP Board of Directors is delighted to announce the recipients of our Annual Awards, which will be presented during the awards luncheon at the 2015 Annual Conference on February 21, 2015.
Appreciation Award: Alexandra Noll, for volunteering for TCADP since 2011 and reaching out to other students to join the movement.
Appreciation Award: Rev. Cheryl Smith, for bringing light to the death penalty issue through regular vigils outside the Walls Unit in Huntsville.
Courage Award: Manuel Velez, for spending nine years in prison, including four years on death row, as an innocent man and making he made the ultimate sacrifice to take a plea offered by the state in order to ensure his freedom and be reunited with his family.
Media Award: Alex Hannaford, for writing countless articles about the death penalty for publications such as The Guardian, Texas Observer, and the Nation and for creating “The Last 40 Miles,” an animated short film that presents a death row inmate’s final journey from death row in Livingston to the death chamber in Huntsville.
2014: Lighting the Way
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Dr., Fort Worth, Texas 76109
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 happened at the conference in the program.
The morning panel discussion included Kathryn Kase, the Executive Director of the Texas Defender Service, and Shari Silberstein, the Executive Director of Equal Justice USA. Kathryn provided valuable information on the role that Texas plays in the national movement and how we are providing the model for collaboration aimed at decreasing use of the death penalty in our state. Shari framed the national movement and strategy for abolition, with a particular focus on state legislative efforts. EJUSA is pioneering a new outreach effort, Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.
The 2014 Keynote Speaker during the Award Luncheon was Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders. Bob Ray Sanders is often criticized for writing about things he could not have experienced because, some readers say, “he can’t be that old.” The truth is Bob Ray has been a professional journalist for 40 years and in three media: newspaper, television and radio. A Fort Worth native who knows and cares about his community, and those with whom he shares this planet, this is a columnist who is not afraid to speak out on behalf of downtrodden people.
The TCADP Board of Directors presented the 2014 Award Winners during the 2014 Annual Conference: “Lighting the Way” Luncheon on February 22, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.
2013: “Changing the Conversation”
February 23, 2013
Location: St. Edward’s University, Austin
Story on the Conference from Facebook and Twitter Posts – http://sfy.co/jFTn
Download 2013 Annual Conference flyer
TCADP Annual Award Winners Celebrated at the Conference
- Appreciation: JC Dufresne, who played an instrumental role in the Texas Democratic Party’s decision to endorse abolition of the death penalty in its 2012 Platform.
- Appreciation: Methodist Federation for Social Action-Southwest Texas Chapter, for their years of involvement and ongoing contributions to the abolition movement.
- Media: Joe Bailey, Jr. and Steve Mims, Filmmakers of “Incendiary”, a documentary about the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 despite serious flaws in the forensic science used to convict him and doubts about his guilt.
In addition to the annual awards luncheon, the conference featured a plenary session on how instances of wrongful convictions and evidence of wrongful executions are changing the conversation on the death penalty. Panelists included:
- Anthony Graves, a motivational speaker and legal consultant who spent 12.5 years on death row before being exonerated in 2010; and
- Professor James Liebman, Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law, and the lead author of Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution
2012: “Seizing the Momentum … Creating the Climate for Change”
February 18, 2012
University of Incarnate Word Sky Room
Dr. Burton E Grossman International Conference Center
847 E Hildebrand, San Antonio
Panel Discussion: The Impact of Texas’ Changing Demographics on the Death Penalty – Read about this exciting list of panelists!
Annual Awards – The TCADP Board of Directors sought nominations from TCADP members for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which were presented at the 2012 Annual Conference on February 18, 2012 in Austin. Read about this year’s honorees.
Seizing the Momentum… Advancing Statewide Vision through Local Action
2011 TCADP Annual Conference
February 19, 2011
Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center
First United Methodist Church
13th and Lavaca, Austin, Texas
Sam Millsap, former Bexar County District Attorney
Dennis Reeves, Assistant Public Defender of the Regional Public Defenders Office for Capital Cases
Karen Peissinger, El Paso TCADP Chapter Leader
Sachin Chheda, NCADP Deputy Director (moderator)
2011 TCADP Annual Awards
Thank you for submitting nominations for this year’s Courage, Appreciation, and Media awards.
TCADP is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2011 Courage, Media, and Appreciation Awards:
Courage: Anthony Graves and his family
Media: Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly
Appreciation: Jim and Sherry Coombes; Marj Loehlin; Dennis Longmire
Founder’s Award: Reverend Carroll Pickett
Seizing the Momentum: Building Capacity, Community, and Coalition
February 20, 2010
Highland Park United Methodist Church
3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas
Co-Sponsored by the SMU Human Rights Education Program
Raising Our Voices for Abolition
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center
First United Methodist Church
12th and Lavaca, Austin, Texas