Speakers will shed light on how the death penalty policy of this state effects actual Texans. All hosting organizations are encouraged to make a donation or take up a love offering to help defray travel expenses. All donations are tax deductible. TCADP is a 501 c3 organization. Speakers are available for venues across the state. Please contact our office to make arrangements at 512-441-1808 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All requests will be honored to the best of our ability and the availability of the speakers.
Please see bios below for some of the speakers available through TCADP. Please note that some speakers have a set honorarium and will require travel reimbursement.
Anthony Graves, Exonerated Inmate
On October 27, 2010, Anthony Graves walked out of the Burleson County Jail after spending 18 years in prison – including 12 years on death row – for a crime he did not commit. Prosecutors dropped all charges against Anthony and declared him innocent after conducting their own investigation of the case. He is the 12th person in Texas to be wrongfully convicted and removed from death row and one of 155 death row exonorees nationwide. Since his release, Anthony has spoken about his experience with the Texas death penalty system to audiences throughout the United States and around the world. He served for a year as the Director of Community Outreach for the Texas Defender Service and now is working with attorney David Dow on individual capital cases and juvenile issues. He is also a member of the Houston Forensic Science Center’s board of directors.
Mark Osler, Law Professor and Author
Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at St Thomas Law School and formerly of Baylor Law School. A graduate of Yale Law School and a former federal prosecutor, he is an expert on sentencing whose work has consistently confronted the problem of inflexibility in sentencing and corrections. As an appellate attorney, Osler has briefed or argued cases (often as Amicus for other sentencing experts) in six federal courts of appeal and in the United States Supreme Court, and as a sentencing expert he has testified in Congress (2009) and before the U.S. Sentencing Commission (2004). He serves as the head of the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and often lectures on issues relating to sentencing, ethics, and faith and the law. His work on one case is portrayed in the Samuel Goldwyn Film, “American Violet,” where the character of “Prof. Joe Fischer” is based on Osler’s role in working with a former student to address suspect practices by a District Attorney. His book, Jesus on Death Row, (Abingdon, 2009) challenges the death penalty based on the experience of Christ as a criminal defendant. He has also authored over twenty academic articles, and has been interviewed as a sentencing expert on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Please note that Mark now lives out of state but is willing to coordinate speaking opportunities and the “Trial of Jesus” as available.
Dave Atwood, Author and Activist
Dave Atwood founded the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 1995. A retired oil company engineer, he published his memoir about his experiences with the Texas death penalty, Detour to Death Row, in 2008. Dave works to promote an increased awareness of the injustices in the capital punishment system. He shares his history of activism on the death penalty, as well as his experiences working with murder victims’ family members and death row inmates and their families, with faith communities, students, and civic associations worldwide. In 2003, he addressed the 4th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Italy. In October, 2004, Dave did a 21 day fast against the death penalty.
Sam Millsap, Former Prosecutor
Sam Millsap served as the District Attorney for Bexar County, Texas from 1982-1987. He approved the death penalty prosecution of Ruben Cantu, a juvenile offender who was executed in 1993 based on the testimony of a single eyewitness who has since changed his sotry. Mr. Millsap now acknowledges that Cantu may have been innocent. An opponent of the deaht penalty, he speaks throughout the country about his experiences with the Cantu case and his concerns about the fairness and reliability of the criminal justice system.
Rev. Carroll Pickett, Retired Death House Chaplain
Rev. Carroll Pickett is a Presbyterian minister who spent 15 years as the death house Chaplain in Huntsville. He gave comfort to 95 men before they were put to death by lethal injection. Rev. Pickett is the author of the book Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain . He is now a strong opponent of the death penalty and speaks of his observations about capital punishment and the world of prison society.
Lee Greenwood-Rollins, Death Row Family Member
Lee Greenwood-Rollins is the mother of Joseph Nichols, who was executed by the State of Texas on March 7, 2007 for the 1980 murder of Claude Schaffer, Jr. Nichols first was convicted under the law of parties, a unique Texas law under which no distinction is made between the principal actor and the accomplice in a crime and each defendant may be held equally culpable. In this case, two people were executed for killing a man who died from a single bullet wound. The prosecution had argued in separate trials that both Joseph Nichols and his co-defendant, Willie Williams (executed in 1995), had fired the fatal shot that killed Claude Schaffer. Nichols’ first trial resulted in a hung jury during the punishment phase and was ruled a mistrial. In 1992, a federal judge found that since two men could not be guilty of firing the same bullet, the prosecution knowingly had presented false evidence by changing its argument from Nichols’ first trial to his retrial. Judge David Hittner ordered that Nichols be released or retried. The state appealed, however, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling. Joseph Nichols was just over 19 years old at the time of the crime. He spent 25 years on death row.
Dr. Linda White, Murder Victim Family Members
Dr. Linda White is a former board member of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. After her daughter, Cathy, was murdered, she raised her granddaughter, Ami. She recently retired from teaching psychology and criminal justice classes at Sam Houston State University. In 2001, Linda and Ami arranged to meet with Cathy’s killer. They learned answers to their questions about Cathy’s final moments, and became activists in supporting non-violent solutions to crime. Linda speaks nationwide on her struggles, her healing and her work for a system of restorative justice.