In this edition:
Scheduled executions and death sentences: Rosendo Rodriguez scheduled to be put to death; first death sentence in Texas in 2018
TCADP 2018 Annual Conference: Check out photos from the day
Support TCADP: Amplify Austin: Set your alarm for Friday, March 2 at 1PM; last chance to order new TCADP t-shirts
In case you missed it: Legislators in Utah and Washington advance repeal bills; OpEd: Don’t let emotion determine whether Cruz gets the death penalty
Featured events: Anthony Graves book signing in Austin; please vote in the Texas primary elections!
Quote of the month
“I understand better than most the power that the DA’s office wields.”
-Anthony Graves, Smart Justice Initiative Manager for the ACLU of Texas
“In South Dallas, Democratic DA Hopefuls Talk Criminal Justice Reform,”
D Magazine, February 12, 2018
Scheduled executions and death sentences
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute one individual this month:
Rosendo Rodriguez is scheduled to be put to death on March 27 for the 2008 murder and assault of Summer Baldwin in Lubbock. In their latest appeal, Rodriguez’s attorneys claim prosecutors failed to disclose information regarding a 2015 settlement with the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s office. Lubbock County has two other inmates currently on death row.
Texas is responsible for three of the four executions nationwide to date in 2018. At this time, there is one additional execution scheduled to take place in April.
Attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions. Information and updates on cases are available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.
Thomas Whitaker commutation
Once again, we would like to thank everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Greg Abbott to support clemency for Thomas Whitaker. Governor Abbott commuted Whitaker’s sentence on February 22, just 30 minutes before the execution was set to begin, after receiving a unanimous recommendation for clemency from the Board.
On our website, you’ll find coverage of the commutation and an interview with Megyn Kelly on “Today,” in which Kent and Tanya Whitaker describe the agonizing day of the scheduled execution as they waited to learn whether the Governor would spare Thomas’ life.
On February 27, a Hardin County jury sentenced Jason Delacerda to death for the 2011 murder of 4-year-old Breonna Loftin. This marks the first death sentence handed down by Texas jurors in 2018. Jurors sentenced four individuals to death in Texas in 2017.
Supporters gather in Dallas for TCADP 2018 Annual Conference
TCADP is grateful to everyone who participated in our 2018 Annual Conference on February 17 in Dallas. It was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces, honor our incredible award recipients – Rev. DeAnna Golsan, House of Renewed Hope, Jeff Newberry, Glenn and Judy Cherry, and Rev. Dr. Wes Magruder – and hear from special guests Rev. Sharon Risher, Christopher Scott, Johnny Pinchback, Mike Ware, Tim Cole, and many more.
Photos from the day, courtesy of Chris Baylor, are now available on the TCADP Facebook page. Special thanks to our sponsors: Serena Connelly, Miley & Brown, P.C., Dallas Peace & Justice Center, John Mimbela, David Dow, and the Dallas Friends Meeting.
Amplify Austin, a 24-hour online fundraising festival, starts today, March 1 at 6 PM, and lasts until 6 PM on Friday, March 2. You can help TCADP win a $1,000 bonus prize for the sixth year in a row by donating between 1:00 and 2:00 PM Central Time on Friday, March 2. Check out our profile page, read the appeals of our 11 individual fundraisers, and set your alarm for Friday afternoon. (Yes, we will send a reminder.)
Last call for new TCADP t-shirts
Buy a shirt and help dismantle the death penalty! There’s just one day left on our fundraiser through Good Ink. Anyone in the country can order a TCADP shirt, which Good Ink will ship directly to you. Please spread the word and help us increase awareness that the death penalty’s days are numbered, even in Texas!
In case you missed it
Utah and Washington legislators advance abolition bills
Republican lawmakers in Utah and Washington are working to abolish the death penalty. Utah Rep. Gage Froerer said, “Conservatives who profess to be ‘Pro-Life,’ believe that government is imperfect and should be limited ought to support the ban.” HB379 was approved by committee and now waits for debate in the full House. Utah Governor Gary Herbert signalled he is open to signing the bill into law.
State Senator Mark Miloscia is leading the bipartisan effort in Washington State. After debate on the Senate floor, the bill passed with a 26-22 vote. It also has cleared the House Judiciary Committee. The bill has gained the support of the current Washington Attorney General, Bob Ferguson.
OpEd: Don’t let emotion determine whether Cruz gets the death penalty
The Dallas Morning News recently published an OpEd by Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa in which she discusses the most recent mass shooting in the United States. Herndon-De La Rosa comments on the inescapable emotions that follow such a tragedy, while reminding all to remember the facts when seeking a solution. “The only reason [the death penalty] remains now is purely emotive. We keep it for vengeance. I understand this feeling, trust me I do, but it’s still just that — a feeling.”
Primary Voting Dates
March 2: Early voting ends
March 6: Election Day
Click here for all the important dates of the 2018 Election cycle. To see a list of Primary Candidates, visit the Texas Tribune. Please contact TCADP with any questions about where candidates stand on the death penalty or criminal justice issues.
March 1-2: Amplify Austin, an annual day of online giving. You can help TCADP win a $1,000 bonus prize for the sixth year in a row by donating between 1:00 and 2:00 PM Central Time on Friday, March 2.
March 5: Texas State University will host exonoree Anthony Graves for a book- signing event at McCoy Hall (North Comanche Street, San Marcos, 78666). The event will begin at 5:30 PM. Paid parking will be available at the LBJ Student Center Garage, and student guides will be available there to meet off-campus visitors and direct them to the venue. Click here for more information.
March 24: Anthony Graves will be at BookPeople (603 North Lamar, Austin, 78703) for a reading and signing of his book Infinite Hope: How Wrongful Conviction, Solitary Confinement, and 12 Years on Death Row Failed to Kill My Soul. The event will begin at 6:00 PM. Click here for more information.
March 24: Democrat and Republican County and Senate District Conventions will take place across the State of Texas. We encourage all of our members to engage in politics on the local and state level. Please contact Vanessa Akins at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend your local convention and need talking points or materials on the death penalty to share with other participants.
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and plan to attend your Senate District convention, please contact TCADP North Texas Outreach Coordinator Jim Webner at email@example.com. Click here for more information about Democratic Conventions and here for Republican Conventions.
Thank you for standing with us as we transform the landscape of the death penalty.