Yokamon Hearn faces execution in Texas on July 18, 2012. He was convicted in Dallas County of the 1998 carjacking and murder of 23-year-old stockbroker Frank Meziere. He was the only person among the four young people charged with this crime to receive the death penalty, even though one of the co-defendants, Delvin Diles, fired four of the 10 gunshots. Delvin received a plea deal under which he pled guilty and received life imprisonment. Yokamon, who is African American, was 19 years old at the time of the crime.
According to Amnesty International, the State of Texas has executed at least 70 people who were aged 17, 18, or 19 at the time of the crime. More than half of these teenagers were African American, of whom 70% were convicted of crimes involving white victims.
Additional Background Information
- Yokamon received ineffective assistance of counsel both during his trial and during the appeals process. His trial lawyers failed to investigate readily available and compelling mitigating evidence that could have been used in the sentencing phase to persuade the jury not to impose the death penalty.
- Some of this mitigating evidence includes the fact that both of his parents were severely impaired throughout his life and he was the victim of extreme neglect; he experienced mental health problems as a young child; and he had brain damage due to his mother’s drinking during her pregnancy with him that caused him to have severe impairments in day-to-day functioning.
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year in Martinez vs. Ryan that if a state habeas corpus lawyer provides ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to investigate and raise a claim that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance, the federal courts in federal habeas proceedings can now hear the claim that trial counsel was ineffective. Thus far, however, the courts have not extended this remedy to people like Yokamon Hearn, as his first federal proceeding ended in 2003.
Take action now!
Call upon the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to grant a reprieve of execution to Yokamon Hearn and commute his sentence to life imprisonment.
Please call, email or fax the Board and the Governor at the contact information below. You also can send a letter online through Amnesty International USA:
Letters/faxes to the Board must clearly reference “ATTENTION CASE Yokamon Hearn #999292” and should arrive by Friday, July 13, 2012.
Contact information for Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles (please call or send your appeals by email or fax):
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Main number: 512-463-2000
Salutation: Dear Governor Perry
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
8610 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin, TX 78757-6814
Fax (512) 467-0945
Salutation: Dear Board Members
More background information on this case is available from Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa16612.pdf
Thank you for taking action! Please check back with TCADP for updates on this case.