In this edition:
Scheduled executions: Execution rescheduled due to Hurricane Harvey
Announcements: Staff changes; Annual Award nominations
In case you missed it: Kentucky judge rules out death penalty for offenders under 21; Prominent attorney files Supreme Court case seeking to end the death penalty
Featured events: Community forums in Dallas; TCADP San Antonio Chapter meeting; speaking events and film screening in Houston
Our thoughts are with all our members affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please let us know how we can help you during this difficult time.
No executions will take place in Texas this month. The September 7 execution date for Juan Castillo was withdrawn and moved to December 14 because of Hurricane Harvey. The August 30 execution of Steven Long was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Texas accounts for 5 out of the 17 executions nationwide thus far in 2017. Currently, there are six executions scheduled in Texas in the remaining months of 2017.
TCADP staff changes
After serving as TCADP’s North Texas Outreach Coordinator for the past two years, Jason Redick has decided to pursue new career opportunities. His last day with us was August 31, 2017.
Jason’s leadership of our North Texas Campaign to Reduce Use of the Death Penalty significantly increased our capacity to recruit new supporters and mobilize members in North Texas, monitor death penalty cases, organize events, and build partnerships with community leaders and organizations. During his tenure, use of the death penalty continued to decline in Dallas and Tarrant Counties. As a wonderful addition to our team, Jason continually inspired us with his dedication to social justice and his care for all people.
Jason asked us to convey the following message to you: “My time at TCADP has been memorable for many reasons, not the least of which is the engagement and encouragement of so many faithful TCADP members. Additionally, working with Kristin and Vanessa has been a real joy. While I may be stepping away from TCADP as a staff member, I remain committed to help ending the death penalty here in Texas and beyond. Thank you all!”
We express our profound appreciation to Jason for laying the foundation for our work in North Texas and wish him the very best in his next endeavors.
TCADP will be seeking a new North Texas Outreach Coordinator, which is a part-time position based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Check your email for the job posting in the next few days, and please share the announcement with any potential candidates.
Nominate an individual or organization for one of our 2018 Annual Awards
TCADP is now accepting nominations for our annual Courage, Appreciation, and Media Awards. With these awards, we recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions towards ending the death penalty in Texas. All award winners will be honored at the TCADP 2018 Annual Conference on February 17, 2018 in Dallas. Nominations will be accepted until October 27, 2017. You’ll find previous award winners listed here.
In case you missed it
Kentucky judge rules out death penalty for offenses committed before the age of 21
Judge Ernesto Scorsone of the Fayette County Circuit Court recently ruled it is unconstitutional to execute anyone who committed their offense before the age of 21. In his ruling, Judge Scorsone cited research that the human brain is not fully developed by that time.
Of those currently on death row in Texas, 43 individuals were under the age of 21 at the time of the crime. This represents about 18 percent of the total death row population; 36 of the 43 individuals are people of color (84 percent).
Prominent attorney challenges constitutionality of the death penalty
Former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, Neal Katyal, recently filed a case with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the end of the death penalty. Katyal is presenting the case of Abel Daniel Hidalgo from Arizona. The brief claims that the standards of determining a capital crime in Arizona are far too broad. In his interview with Buzzfeed, Katyal stated, “The evidence is in. The long experiment launched by Gregg — in whether the death penalty can be administered within constitutional bounds — has failed.” The Court will decide whether to hear the case later this year.
There are several opportunities this month for you to hear from the candidates running for Dallas County District Attorney (DA) and from public officials:
September 9: A Dallas County District Attorney Forum will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2017 as part of the African American Leadership Institute’s Fall Policy Summit. It will occur from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at Paul Quinn College and is free to attend. All three DA candidates are scheduled to participate, and Gromer Jeffers from the Dallas Morning News will moderate the discussion. Register here.
September 16: Community Forum: Blue on the Block with Faith Johnson, Dallas County District Attorney. This event will take place on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 12 to 1 PM at The Potter’s House; 6777 West Kiest Boulevard; Dallas, Texas, 75236. Admission is free. DA Faith Johnson will moderate a panel featuring Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and defense attorney Toby Shook.
September 13: The TCADP San Antonio Chapter will host a member meeting in the Law Alumni Room in the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library (1 Camino Santa Maria St.) at St. Mary’s Law School. The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The TCADP San Antonio Chapter meets on the second Wednesday of every month. We would like to thank Chris Hockman for his leadership of the chapter over the last year and wish him the best on his move to Florida.
October 11: St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Spring is hosting an event featuring speakers Anthony Graves and Deacon Richard Lopez on October 11, 2017 at 7:30PM. Please view this flyer for more information.
October 14: Join Witness to Innocence, Catholic Mobilizing Network, Journey of Hope, and TCADP for the Texas premiere of the film, “The Gathering,” which tells the story of Witness to Innocence, the only national organization of exonerated death row survivors and their families. A panel discussion with death row exonerees and a murder victim’s family member will follow. The event will begin at 7PM at the Parsley Center Auditorium at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (8900 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 77036).
For more information, please visit https://tcadp.org/get-involved/