In This Edition:
Upcoming Events and Announcements
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Stays Execution of Marcus Druery
Late last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution to Marcus Druery. Druery was scheduled to be executed today, August 1, for the 2002 murder of Skyyler Browne in rural Brazos County. Serious questions surround his mental competency; the State’s own mental health professionals repeatedly have diagnosed him as schizophrenic. The Court granted the stay in order to review his attorneys’ request for a full and fair competency hearing. Read an editorial from the Houston Chronicle (“Texas execution stay a wise move,” July 30, 2012) and a comprehensive piece about this case from Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic (“Will Texas execute a psychotic man?” July 30, 2012). Additional information and updates also are available on the TCADP blog.
Two Additional Executions Scheduled for August
On August 7, 2012, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Marvin Wilson for the 1992 shooting death of Jerry Robert Williams in Beaumont. According to his attorneys, Wilson was diagnosed with mental retardation by Dr. Donald Trahan, a court-appointed, board certified neuropsychologist with 22 years of clinical experience as a mental retardation specialist. At Wilson’s hearing to determine whether he had mental retardation, the state presented no evidence whatsoever; it has never offered any expert opinion, in any form, challenging Dr. Trahan’s clinical diagnosis. Read more background on this case from the Texas Defender Service.
On August 22, 2012, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute John Balentine for the 1998 murders of his ex-girlfriend’s brother, Mark Caylor, Jr., 17, and two other boys, Kai Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15. Last year, on the day of his scheduled execution (June 15, 2011), he received a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court stopped the execution to review a petition from Balentine’s lawyer that contended his legal representation at trial and in the early stages of his appeal was deficient.
Respond to scheduled executions by learning about current clemency campaigns or attending vigils being hosted in your community: https://tcadp.org/get-involved/stop-executions/
Texas Changes Lethal Injection Protocol
Last month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced that it would no longer administer executions using the three-drug protocol that had been in place since 1982, when Texas carried out the nation’s first lethal injection. Instead, the State now will carry out executions using just one drug, the sedative pentobarbital. On July 18, 2012, Yokamon Hearn was put to death by this new protocol. A Dallas County jury sentenced him to death for the 1998 carjacking and murder of 23-year-old Frank Meziere.
Summer 2012 Newsletter
In this issue:
Why the Carlos DeLuna case still matters
Voices of Texas: Agnes Fernandes
Death Penalty Developments
Austin: RSVP for Sr. Helen Prejean
Member Highlight – Scott Ruthart, Ft. Worth
News from the Field
Faithful Considerations: A Discussion with Sr. Helen Prejean and Austin Faith Leaders
Sister Helen Prejean will be joined by Rev. John Elford of University United Methodist Church and Rev. Nestor Menjivar of Iglesia Bautista Principe de Paz of Austinto discuss the challenges of moving Texas away from a culture of vengeance toward a culture of accountability that does not rely on the death penalty; addressing the issue of the death penalty from the pulpit; and how faith leaders and people of faith can take a more proactive role in educating their congregations about the death penalty.
Friday, October 12 at 7:00pm
St. Edward’s University, Jones Auditorium
3001 S Congress, Austin, TX 78704
Reserve Your Free Sister Helen Tickets (Limited Seating), and Sign Up for the Month of Faith in Action at the link https://tcadp.org/what-we-do/religious-outreach/ under “Coming Events”!
TCADP Seeks Volunteer Lobby Corps
Do you watch Texas legislative committee hearings online? Have you ever wanted to explore the inner chambers of the State Capitol? Then this exciting new volunteer leadership opportunity is for you! TCADP is forming a dedicated Volunteer Lobby Corps, consisting of about 10 people, who will work with us next year during the 2013 Legislative Session. You don’t have to be a political junkie to participate – we’ll provide you with all the training, resources, and support you’ll need! Look for an email from TCADP later this month with more details about the Lobby Corps and the application process or contact TCADP Board President Bob Van Steenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2013 Annual Conference Planning Underway!
Mark your calendars for the next TCADP Annual Conference, which will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2013 on the campus of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. The conference is a wonderful opportunity to meet abolitionists from across the state and learn the latest innovative strategies in our work to end the death penalty. Next month we will begin accepting nominations for our annual awards, so start thinking now about individuals or organizations worthy of the Appreciation, Courage, and Media Awards. Read about last year’s amazing honorees!
TCADP Website Maintenance Scheduled for Friday Afternoon
Please be aware that due to maintenance, the TCADP website may be down late Friday or this weekend for a few hours or as much as 24 hours. We appreciate your understanding.
5 Odessa Chapter meeting 4:00pm, email@example.com (Meeting Quarterly: Feb., Apr. , Aug., Oct.)
7 Scheduled Execution: Marvin Wilson
18 Freethinkers Association meeting, San Antonio 1:30pm
22 Scheduled Execution: John Balentine
27 TCADP Booth at SMU Engaged Learning Expo; El Paso Chapter Meeting 6:00pm, firstname.lastname@example.org
15 – Oct 14 Austin Area Month of Faith in Action
16 TCADP Booth at the Dallas Pride Festival
16 St. Paul UMC UMW, Houston 12:30—3:00
16 House Concert w/Sara Hickman, Austin 5:00pm
19 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, email@example.com
20 Scheduled Execution: Robert Harris
24 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 6:00pm, firstname.lastname@example.org
25 Scheduled Execution: Cleve Foster
30 First UMC Austin Family Life Center Presentation 9:45am
For more information about these events or to volunteer to staff a table at an outreach event, email email@example.com.