Annual Conference

 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:

Champion Level
John Mimbela, Mimbela Contractors, Inc. in El Paso, Proclaim Justice and Quest for Justice

Awards Luncheon Sponsors
Angelle Adams
Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP and Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP
Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio
Virginia Greenway
Rev. Jeff Hood
Methodist Federation for Social Action – Rio Texas Chapter

Keynote Speaker: Tim Cole
photo-9Tim 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”
Confirmed panelists:

pat monksPat 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 StullBrian 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.


Past Conferences

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

Check out the photos!  See a compilation of the social media posts from the conference –

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.

Videos of the Keynote address and awards ceremony are available on the TCADP YouTube Channel.

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.

Appreciation Award: Ariana Campos, who has provided critical logistical support for TCADP’s activities in the State Capitol since 2010.
Appreciation Award: Maria Castillo, one of TCADP’s stalwart volunteers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, for her incredible outreach efforts.
Appreciation Award: Paula Keeth, a steadfast advocate for abolition and devoted member of the TCADP Dallas Chapter, for her commitment to the issue and inspiration of others.
Appreciation Award: Burnham Terrell, for his faithful work coordinating the Houston-area execution vigils for many years.  The award will be presented posthumously.
Courage Award: State Representative Terry Canales, in recognition of his public statement in support of ending the death penalty during the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1703 by Rep. Jessica Farrar on April 29, 2013.
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: State Representative Lon Burnam, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to justice and his contributions to abolition and to TCADP, both within and outside of the Texas Legislature.
A special thank you to the Harold Simmons Foundation for their sponsorship of the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference “Lighting the Way”.

2013:  “Changing the Conversation”

February 23, 2013
Location:  St. Edward’s University, Austin

Story on the Conference from Facebook and Twitter Posts –

Watch videos of the speakers from the Conference Panel Discussion:  Anthony Graves         Prof. James Liebman

Download 2013 Annual Conference flyer
TCADP Annual Award Winners Celebrated at the Conference

  • AppreciationJC 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.

Read more about the winners.

Plenary Session
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:

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!

See pictures from the conference.

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

See pictures from the conference award ceremony.

Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center
First United Methodist Church
13th and Lavaca, Austin, Texas

Panel Discussion:
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

Read more about the winners.

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

See the Pictures

Raising Our Voices for Abolition
Saturday, February 21, 2009

Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center
First United Methodist Church
12th and Lavaca, Austin, Texas

See the pictures