Update, 8:30 PM, May 19, 2021:
Tonight, the State of Texas executed Quintin (“Quin”) Jones despite the pleas for mercy from his great-aunt Mattie Long, who is the sister of the victim, Berthena Bryant, as well as an outpouring of support from people worldwide touched by Quin’s heart wrenching appeal for his own life. As the first execution to occur here in more than 10 months, Quin’s death is a sobering reminder of just how arbitrary, cruel, and unfair the death penalty truly is.
Earlier today, counsel for Quin Jones filed a complaint in federal court in response to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ unanimous vote to reject Quin’s clemency application. The complaint argued that race appears to have played an impermissible role in the Board’s decision to deny Quin, a Black man, a commutation of this sentence. It drew parallels to the case of Thomas Whitaker, a white man who received a unanimous recommendation for clemency from this same Board on February 20, 2018.
Although the complaint was dismissed, it doesn’t change the fact that racial bias permeates every aspect of a death penalty case – interrogation tactics by the police, prosecutorial discretion, intentional discrimination in jury selection, biased judges, and the clemency process.
Inexplicably, the execution took place without any media witnesses present, a disturbing departure from the standard practice.
Original post, May 19, 2021: Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted against clemency or a reprieve for Quintin (“Quin”) Phillippe Jones, who is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas today, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. In doing so, the Board ignored the pleas of the victim’s – and Quin’s – family members, his powerful redemption story, and the support of more than 155,000 people who signed the petition @ http://bit.ly/SaveQuin.
The Board’s decision in this case is at odds with its vote to recommend clemency for Thomas (“Bart”) Whitaker three years ago and it raises serious concerns about the role racial bias plays in the outcome of clemency applications in Texas. Whitaker, a white man, was convicted of masterminding the murders of his mother and brother. His father, Kent, was also shot in the ambush but survived and forgave his son, pleading for his life.
Quin Jones is Black. More than 20 years ago, he was convicted of the robbery and death of his great aunt, Berthena Bryant, a Black woman. Since that time, Quin has transformed himself into a kind and thoughtful man who is deeply remorseful for the crime he committed as a drug-addicted and angry 20-year-old whose upbringing was fraught with abuse. Ms. Mattie Long, who is Ms. Bryant’s sister and Quin’s great-aunt, has long forgiven Quin and asked the state not to traumatize her family again by executing him.
Counsel for Jones has filed a complaint in federal court in response to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ 7 to 0 vote to deny Jones’s clemency application.
Jones is Black. The complaint argues that race appears to have played a role in the Board’s decision to deny Jones a commutation of this sentence. It draws parallels to the case of Thomas Whitaker, who received a unanimous recommendation for clemency from this same Board on February 20, 2018.
According to the complaint “the lack of consistency in the application of grounds for clemency – where clemency was recommended and granted for Whitaker, who is white, and rejected for Mr. Jones, who is black – presents a legally cognizable claim that Mr. Jones’s race played an impermissible role in the Board’s denial of his application for clemency. Absent a neutral explanation for this differential treatment – and none has been provided – an inference of unequal treatment based on race is present, giving rise to concern that the Board’s decision-making process was compromised by racial discrimination.”
The complaint and exhibits are available here.