Governor Rejects Recommendation for Clemency

The governor’s office just issued this statement:

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding the execution of Robert Lee Thompson:

“After reviewing all of the facts in the case of Robert Lee Thompson, who had a murderous history and participated in the killing of Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed, I have decided to uphold the jury’s capital murder conviction and capital punishment for this heinous crime. There is no reason to set aside the capital murder conviction handed down by a Texas jury and upheld by numerous state and federal courts.”

Thank you for contacting Governor Perry and urging him to grant clemency to Robert Lee Thompson, who is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas tonight. We deeply regret to inform you that the Governor has rejected the recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and declined to commute Thompson’s sentence to life in prison.

TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s decision:

“The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) is outraged that Governor Perry has rejected the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommendation to commute the death sentence of Robert Lee Thompson. Thompson is scheduled to be executed this evening for the murder of Mansoor Rahim, even though he was not the triggerman. His co-defendant, Sammy Butler, the actual killer of Mr. Rahim, was tried separately and convicted on a lesser charge. Butler is serving a life sentence and will be eligible for parole.

This was only the fourth such recommendation for clemency from the Board in cases where the inmate faced imminent execution, but it constitutes the second time that Governor Perry has chosen to ignore the Board, whose members he appoints. Perry previously rejected a recommendation for clemency by the Board in 2004 when he allowed the execution of Kelsey Patterson, an inmate with severe mental illness, to proceed.

The Governor’s decision comes at a time of increased public awareness and scrutiny of the flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system. TCADP joins with a growing chorus of diverse voices, including those of law enforcement, religious leaders, murder victim family members, and state legislators in calling for an end to this arbitrary and error-prone form of punishment.”

Please call the Governor and express your outrage that he once again has failed to promote justice in Texas:

Office of the Governor Citizen’s Opinion Hotline: 1-800-252-9600
Phone: (512) 463-2000 Fax: (512) 463-1849

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