May 2012 Alert: Executions This Month, More Evidence of Momentum Towards Abolition, and More

In This Edition:

Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Events
Recent News
Announcements
Calendar

Scheduled Executions

May 2: Anthony Bartee
May 16: Steven Staley

 
Thank you to everyone who has taken action to stop tonight’s scheduled execution of Anthony Bartee, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of David Cook in San Antonio.  We learned late last night from Bartee’s attorneys that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously against granting clemency or a 120-day reprieve to allow time for  additional DNA testing.  His attorneys have multiple appeals pending and will continue to pursue all possible legal channels today.  Please check the TCADP home page for updates as they become available.  At this point, vigils will take place in locations statewide as scheduled.

TCADP also will closely monitor developments in the case of Steven Staley, who is scheduled to be executed on May 16, 2012 despite serious concerns about his mental competency.  He was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of Robert Read.  Staley has been diagnosed with severe paranoid schizophrenia and has been forcibly medicated in order to render him competent for execution.  Again, we will post updates as they become available.

Upcoming Events

The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Trinity United Methodist Church present From Violence to Restorative Justice: A screening of the documentary “Meeting with a Killer: One Family’s Journey” on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4001 Speedway (northeast corner of 40th and Speedway.

Join us as we watch one family’s journey to forgiveness and reconciliation following the murder of their loved one. After the screening, a discussion will be led by Ellen Halbert, the professional mediator who helped make this real-life mediation possible.

Ellen Halbert has been involved in the criminal justice system for over 25 years.  In 1991, she was appointed to a six-year term on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. She was the first victim of crime – and first female – to serve on the nine-member Board that oversees the massive criminal justice system in Texas. Ms. Halbert is presently the Director of the Victim Witness Division at the District Attorney’s Office in Travis County, Texas.

Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the lot across the street from the church.

Recent News

The Final Collapse of the Deterrence Argument?

A new report from the National Research Council finds that while the subject of deterrence has been exhaustively studied and debated over the last 35 years, none of this research can be considered useful or informative in determining whether the death penalty has any impact on homicide rates.  Even more significantly, the committee of distinguished scholars that published the report recommended that “these [deterrence] studies should not be used to inform judgments about the effect of the death penalty on homicide, and should not serve as a basis for policy decisions about capital punishment.” Read more.

It’s Official: Connecticut Abolishes the Death Penalty

On April 25, 2012, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law legislation that ends the use of the death penalty in his state.  In his official statement, the Governor cited the “unworkability” and fallibility of Connecticut’s death penalty law as two key reasons for signing the bill. Connecticut now joins four other states that have abandoned the death penalty in recent years and is the 17th non-death penalty state in the United States.  Please take a moment to thank Governor Malloy for his leadership. Read the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board’s “Salute to Connecticut” and find more coverage of repeal in Connecticut here.

Californians Set to Vote on Repeal

This November, voters in California will decide whether to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. On April 24, 2012, the California Secretary of State announced that campaign organizers of the “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act” (the SAFE California Act) had collected enough valid signatures (more than half a million!) to place the measure on the ballot. Read more in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Anthony Graves Wows Friendship-West Baptist Church

Last Monday, April 23, 2012, death row exonoree, motivational speaker, and extraordinary human being Anthony Graves held hundreds of people in rapt attention at Friendship-West Baptist Church in South Dallas, where he engaged in an hour-long conversation with Senior Pastor Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III about his wrongful incarceration on Texas’ death row.  Anthony pleaded with the audience to raise their voices to tell the State of Texas to stop carrying out executions in their names.

TCADP is immensely grateful to Dr. Haynes, Minister of Justice Danielle Ayers, and the congregation of Friendship-West for hosting this event and joining our efforts to end the death penalty in Texas. View photos from the evening on the TCADP Facebook page.

Announcements

The Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE), an independent, non-governmental, client-centered charity based in Houston, Texas, is seeking to hire a full-time Communications Director. GRACE provides and supports high quality representation of indigent individuals facing the death penalty at trial or retrial.  The Communications Director will utilize strategic communications to advance the organizational goals of GRACE while also serving as a spokesperson, effectively articulating GRACE’ mission, programs and accomplishments to funders, stakeholders and the community as a whole. View the full job announcement.

Calendar

May

1 Puro Slam – Poetry on the death penalty, San Antonio

2 Scheduled Execution: Anthony Bartee

6 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm odessa@tcadp.org

8 Restorative Justice Program, Trinity UMC, Austin 7:00pm

11-12 Gulf Coast ELCA Synod Assembly, Houston*

16 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

16 Scheduled Execution: Steven Staley

19 TCADP Board of Directors meeting

23 Presentation to Houston Liberals Meetup Group, 7:00 PM

26 DFW International Festival*

28 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

29 Texas Primary elections

 

June

3 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm, odessa@tcadp.org

3-5 North Texas UMC Annual Conference*

6 TX UMC Annual Conference—Witness to Innocence

6 Scheduled Execution: Bobby Hines

7-10 SWTX UMC Annual Conference, Corpus Christi*

7-10 LULAC Conference, San Marcos*

8-9 Democratic State Convention, Houston*

9 San Antonio Pridefest*

14-16 Rio Grande UMC Annual Conference, San Antonio*

15-16 Texas Black Expo, Houston*

20 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

20-21 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, Fort Worth*

23 Houston Pridefest*

25 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

TCADP will staff an information at all events marked with a star.  For more information about these events or to volunteer, email info@tcadp.org.

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