April Alert: Scheduled Executions, Spring Newsletter, News and Events

In this alert:
Scheduled Executions
Spring Newsletter
News and Events
Calendar  

Scheduled Executions

April 5 : Cleve Foster  

Respond to the scheduled execution by contacting the Governor, attending vigils and more.  Please note that due to the legal challenges being pursued in regard to the new lethal injection protocol, a stay of execution may be a possibility.  Please check tcadp.org for updates. 

Judge Denies Efforts to Block New Lethal Injection Protocol

On Friday, April 1, 2011 Travis County District Court Judge Stephen Yelenosky denied efforts by Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster to invalidate a new protocol for carrying out executions.   Earlier in March, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced that it planned to replace sodium thiopental, the first drug used in the lethal injection process, with pentobarbital. Foster’s attorneys contended that the change in protocol violated the Texas Administrative Procedures Act, which requires notice and an opportunity for public comment.  They sought to block the new procedure and require executions to be carried out under the previous protocol. Read more.

Spring Newsletter

Read the TCADP Spring Newsletter today.

In this issue:
 
Texas 82nd Legislative Session: Hearing on HB 819
Texas Death Penalty Developments
MVFR Interview:  Jan Brown
Chapter News/Calendar
2011 Volunteer Recognition and Annual Conference
 
(Pictured: TCADP 2011 Annual Conference attendees)
 
Read it now!

News and Events

Updates on the 82nd Texas Legislature

On March 29, 2011, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard more than 1.5 hours of compelling testimony in support of House Bill 819, which calls for repeal of the death penalty in Texas. Murder victim family members, religious leaders, and academics joined TCADP Board President Bob Van Steenburg in advocating for the bill, which has been left pending in committee.  

If you haven’t done so already, please call or email the members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee to thank them for conducting a fair and open hearing on HB 819 and to urge their support for repealing the death penalty in Texas. (Numbers and email addresses can be found in the TCADP legislative alert sent on March 30.) 

On March 30, 2011, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 377 by a vote of 28 to 2. This legislation expands the scope of the death penalty by making the murder of a child who is less than 10 years of age a capital offense. Senators Rodney Ellis of Houston and José Rodríguez of El Paso voted no; Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio voted “present-not voting” and provided a reason for her vote. The bill now moves over to the House of Representatives, where it has been referred to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. TCADP will provide an alert and action request if/when the bill is scheduled for a hearing (the bill number in the House is HB 1065).

Host Watch Parties to View CBS “48 Hours”  Special on Anthony Graves

On Saturday, April 16th at 9pm Central, CBS “48 Hours” will air a special on Anthony Graves, the most recent death row exoneree from Texas.  Anthony was wrongfully convicted of murdering Bobbie Davis, her daughter and her four grandchildren in Somerville, Texas, in 1992.  After spending 18 years in prison, 12 of which were on death row, Anthony was found to be innocent by the Burleson County District Attorney and released from custody in October of 2010.  Learn more about the background of his case.
 
Join other TCADP members in hosting a viewing party to raise awareness about the risk of wrongful conviction and to connect with others in your area who want to get involved in our efforts to repeal the death penalty in Texas. For more information or to receive a copy of TCADP’s viewing party guide, contact Anita Grabowski at anita@ncadp.org.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 10-16

Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past is this year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 10-16, 2011.  Each year the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, prepares a National Crime Victims’ Rights Resource Guide to assist communities across the country in planning events. The resource guide is available at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/.  The guide provides  theme-inspired, camera-ready artwork, tips on working with the media, statistical resources, history of the landmarks in victim rights, etc.
 
The voices of families of homicide victims have been a strong and eloquent part of our past and continue to shape our future. It is important for us to take a moment this year and participate in events marking National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in our local communities.

Access the Resource guide and learn about ways you can recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in your congregation or community.

Suggested activities include:

  1. Speaking from the pulpit about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
  2. Remembering all crime victims in your prayers during your worship service
  3. Providing information about local events in the worship bulletin

If you have any questions or need any help, please contact our colleague Chris Castillo of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation at ccastillo@mvfr.org.

Odessa Chapter Hosts Successful Speaker’s Tour

From March 24-24, TCADP’s Odessa Chapter hosted death row exoneree, Juan Melendez, for  a speaker’s tour in the Permian Basin.  According to Father Mark Miller, chapter leader, “He is speaking from first hand experience. I believe when people hear that, they begin to think and imagine it in a new way. So I think we only grow to have a new perspective when we are able to imagine things differently then what we may have grown up with.”  Read More.

Amnesty International Releases Annual Report on the Death Penalty

In the last decade, more than 30 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Fifty-eight countries worldwide now retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and less than half of these carried out executions in 2010. This report analyzes some of the key developments in the worldwide application of the death penalty in 2010, citing figures gathered by Amnesty International on the number of death sentences handed down and executions carried out during the year.  Learn more and read the report.

TCADP is on Facebook

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Calendar

April

5 Scheduled Execution – Cleve Foster
8-10 Prison Reform Film Festival, Houston www.theprisonshow.org/festival.html
10 – 16 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/
16 CBS “48 Hours” Special on Anthony Graves, 9:00pm Central
18 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
20 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

May

1 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm, odessa@tcadp.org
3 Scheduled Execution – Cary Kerr
7-8 TCADP Booth at Houston International Festival*
16 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
18 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org
29 – 1 Texas Annual Conference—UMC, Houston*

*Please contact info@tcadp.org, if you would be available to help with these tabling opportunities.