URGENT ACTION APPEAL – From Amnesty International USA
Take action online at:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/117/2001). Khristian Oliver
is African American (he has light skin color and is listed by the prison
authorities as white). In an affidavit signed in 2002, his mother stated
that among the "psychological burdens" borne by her son was that "some
people who had been friendly when they believed him to be a Caucasian had
spurned him when they found out he was from an African-American family".
Oliver's lawyer had sought to have the trial judge question prospective
jurors during jury selection to elicit any possible racial bias they might
harbour, especially given the fact that the murder victim was white. The
lawyer was concerned that he should not ask the questions himself as it
might be perceived by jurors as an illegitimate injection of race into
proceedings, whereas they would view the trial judge as neutral. The judge
refused the request.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases,
unconditionally, regardless of the crime, the offender, or the method
chosen to kill the condemned prisoner. The death penalty is inherently
cruel and degrading, incompatible with human dignity. To end the death
penalty is to abandon a destructive, diversionary and divisive public
policy that is not consistent with widely held values. It not only runs
the risk of irrevocable error, it is also costly, to the public purse as
well as in social and psychological terms. It has not been proved to have
a special deterrent effect. It tends to be applied in a discriminatory
way, on grounds of race and class. It denies the possibility of
reconciliation and rehabilitation. It prolongs the suffering of the murder
victim's family, and extends that suffering to the loved ones of the
condemned prisoner. It diverts resources that could be better used to work
against violent crime and assist those affected by it. Today, 139
countries are abolitionist in law or practice. The USA, in contrast, has
carried out 1,175 executions since resuming judicial killing in 1977.
Texas accounts for 441 of these executions. There have been 39 executions
in the USA this year, 18 of them in Texas.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
– expressing concern that jurors at Khristian Oliver's trial consulted the
Bible during their sentencing deliberations;
– urging the Board to recommend that the Governor commute Khristian
Oliver's death sentence;
– calling on Governor Perry to accept such a recommendation, or if such a
recommendation is not forthcoming, to issue a stay of execution and a
request to the Board to reconsider;
– explaining that you are not seeking to excuse violent crime or to
downplay the suffering caused to its victims.
Rissie L. Owens
Presiding Officer, Board of Pardons and Paroles,
Executive Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78757
Fax: 1 512 467 0945
Salutation: Dear Ms Owens
Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Fax: 1 512 463 1849
Salutation: Dear Governor
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 5
Tip of the Month:
Write as soon as you can. Try to write as close as possible to the date a
case is issued.
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Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that promotes and
defends human rights.
This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including contact
information and stop action date (if applicable).
Thank you for your help with this appeal.
Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl
Washington DC 20003
END OF URGENT ACTION APPEAL