June 2012 Alert: On the Road to Abolition, Abundant Evidence of Wrongful Convictions/Executions, and More!

n this monthly alert, you will find opportunities to get involved on the local level and recent death penalty developments. We encourage you to attend upcoming events and become a TCADP member today. Thank you for joining us as we seize the momentum to end the death penalty once and for all!

In This Edition:

Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Events
Recent News
Announcements
Calendar

Executions

There are no executions scheduled to take place in Texas this month.

On July 18, 2012, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Yokamon Hearn, who was convicted in Dallas County of the 1998 carjacking and murder of Frank Meziere.

Update on Anthony Bartee (granted stay of execution on May 2, 2012):
According to a recent article in the San Antonio Express-News (“Decision adds to scrutiny of death penalty cases,” May 26, 2012), DNA testing has been conducted on drinking glasses and cigarettes collected at the crime scene: “Last week the Bexar County crime lab’s testing found on the evidence the DNA
of three people – two men and one woman so far unidentified. The results will now be sent through the state and federal databases. As prosecutors hunt for DNA matches, the civil rights case lingers in federal court.” Read more from the Express-News.

Upcoming Events

For anyone attending the Texas State Democratic Convention this week at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, please stop by the TCADP information table – booth #119 in the Exhibitors’ Hall E, close to the registration counters. We also invite delegates to attend a workshop on “Progress Towards Repealing the Death Penalty in Texas,” which we are hosting from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Friday, June 8, in Room 360 ABC.   The workshop will feature remarks from death row exonoree Anthony Graves and State Representative Jessica Farrar, among other friends. For more information about the convention, contact Kristin at khoule@tcadp.org.

Recent News
Additional Coverage of the Wrongful Execution of Carlos DeLuna

Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution, which provides the most compelling evidence to date that the State of Texas executed an innocent man, continues to generate significant attention. For a good overview of the case of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in 1989, read an opinion piece by the author of the study, James S. Liebman, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on June 1, 2012 (“You can’t fix the death penalty”) or watch a short piece by PBS NewsHour (“Carlos DeLuna Case: the Fight to Prove an Innocent Man Was Executed,” May 24, 2012).   Also worth reading is an editorial by the Houston Chronicle, which cites the DeLuna case in affirming its call for the abolition of the death penalty (“Death penalty perils,” May 24, 2012).

For more background information on Carlos DeLuna, visit www.thewrongcarlos.net. Visit TCADP for information on other wrongful executions and wrongful convictions.

First-of-its-kind National Registry of Exonerations

On May 21, 2012, the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law released the National Registry of Exonerations, which documents 894 exonerations since 1989. Of these, 89 occurred in Texas, the second-highest number of exonerations among all states. Read more on the TCADP blog and visit the Registry for a list of all Texas exonerations and other details.

Ever wish you were a fly on the wall?

The June issue of Texas Monthly magazine features a fascinating roundtable discussion that took place recently among some of the most pivotal players in our state’s criminal justice system. Texas Monthly sat down with six individuals – a police chief, a district attorney, a special prosecutor, a death row exonoree, a judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals, and a State Senator – to talk about Texas’ abysmal record of wrongful convictions. Read more from the TCADP blog.  (At this time, the online article is only available for subscribers; you can pick up a copy of Texas Monthly from your local newsstand or bookstore.)

Reposted From the Death Penalty Information Center:

Public Finds Death Penalty Less Morally Acceptable in New Gallup Survey
Posted: May 31, 2012

Gallup recently released its Values and Beliefs survey regarding American moral views on a variety of social issues.  The results revealed a significant decline in the percentage of the public that finds the death penalty “morally acceptable.”  This year, only 58% of respondents said the death penalty is morally acceptable, down from 65% last year.   (Click on graph to enlarge.)This marks the lowest approval rating for capital punishment since this survey was first administered 12 years ago. Among Democrats, only 42% found the death penalty morally acceptable.  Generally, support for the death penalty falls below 50% when the public is offered alternative punishments.  In 2010, Gallup asked which is the better punishment for murder: the death penalty or life in prison without parole?  Less than half (49%) chose the death penalty, while 46% chose life without parole.

Read more

 

Announcements

Help Expand TCADP’s Base of Support

Over the next six weeks, TCADP will sponsor information tables at 11 different conventions and festivals across the state, through which we have the potential to reach close to 50,000 people! The cost of participation ranges from $50 to $1,000 in registration fees, staff travel, and printed materials for distribution. These events are vital to our efforts to identify new supporters and raise awareness of the flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system.   Your donation of $50 or $100 today will underwrite these expenses and advance our ongoing outreach and educational programs!

Austin Area: Month of Faith in Action

If you belong to a faith community in Austin, please talk to your clergy about joining TCADP for our Month of Faith in Action to promote dialogue about the death penalty in Texas. There has never been a more important time for people of faith to engage in education and action on the death penalty, and to take a leadership role in speaking out against this culture of violence and vengeance.

We are encouraging congregations to hold activities and events in solidarity with each other September 15 to October 14, however, you are welcome to schedule an event any time in the year that accommodates your calendar. The Month of Faith in Action will culminate in an interfaith gathering and presentation by Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, on Friday, October 12, 2012 at St. Edward’s University.

Possible activities include:

  • Distribute information on the death penalty, in keeping with your faith tradition’s perspective on the issue;
  • Collect signatures of support as part of our “Count Me In” campaign;
  • Hear testimony from a murder victim’s family member, exonerated death row inmate, or other speaker;
  • Show a film followed by a discussion (TCADP staff/ volunteers can be available to help facilitate if you wish);
  • Talk with fellow clergy about the death penalty at clergy breakfasts or other professional gatherings.

Printed materials, speakers, films, and discussion guides are available to you at no cost from TCADP. We are happy to work with you on developing a program that fits your needs and capacity. To learn more or to request resources go to: https://tcadp.org/faith-community-event-sign-up/ (under Programs, click on “Religious Outreach”) or call the TCADP office at 512-441-1808.

Calendar

June

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

3-5 North Texas UMC Annual Conference, Dallas

6 TX UMC Annual Conference—Witness to Innocence, Houston

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*

16 Soul Food Fest, Grand Prairie

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

26-July 2 Starving for Justice:  Death Penalty Fast and Vigil Supreme Court Steps, Washington, D.C.

July

7-12 NAACP National Convention, Houston*

18 Scheduled Execution: Yokamon Hearn

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

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