In this edition:
Scheduled executions: A brief respite in Texas; sign the petition to save Richard Glossip in Oklahoma
In case you missed it: U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Rodney Reed’s quest for DNA testing; Washington state officially abolishes the death penalty; 14th person to be removed from Texas death row due to evidence of intellectual disability
Featured events: Community festival in San Antonio on May 6: Dallas Membership Meet Up on May 11; TCADP Book Group on May 18; Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: The Case of Charles Don Flores, a community forum in Dallas on June 8
Quote of the month
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today is a critical step toward the ultimate goal of getting DNA testing in Rodney Reed’s case. We are grateful that the Court has kept the courthouse doors open to Mr. Reed.”
– Parker Rider-Longmaid of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, who argued the case of Reed v. Goertz before the U.S. Supreme Court, April 19, 2023
After a very brief time during which Texas had no executions scheduled, the State has now set a date for Jedidiah Murphy. Murphy, who was convicted in Dallas in 2001, is scheduled to be executed on October 10, 2023—a date observed as World Day Against the Death Penalty.
Any other executions will have to be scheduled at least 90 days in advance per Texas law.
Nationwide, ten people have been put to death this year by four states: Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, which has executed five people. The dates for three other men in Texas—including, most recently, Ivan Cantu—were withdrawn.
Florida is scheduled to execute Darryl Barwick on May 3, 2023, and on May 18, 2023, Richard Glossip faces execution in Oklahoma despite widespread concerns about his conviction. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.
Request a reprieve for Richard Glossip
In early April, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn Glossip’s conviction based on a report by his appointed Independent Counsel. Despite misstatements by Justin Sneed, the State’s star witness against Glossip, as well as other evidence undermining the conviction, the court ruled against Glossip two weeks later.
Attorney General Drummond then urged the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to recommend clemency for Glossip, writing in a letter that “For there to be public faith in our criminal justice system, it is incumbent on me as the State’s chief law enforcement officer to not ignore evidence and facts, wherever they may lead.” After conducting a lengthy hearing on April 26, the Board voted 2-2 against recommending clemency for Glossip (a majority vote is required).
As in Texas, the Governor of Oklahoma has the independent authority to grant a temporary reprieve. Sign this petition asking Governor Kevin Stitt to grant a 60-day reprieve to Richard Glossip and call the Governor here: 405-521-2342.
Rodney Reed can pursue DNA testing in federal court
Rodney Reed has been on death row in Texas since 1998 for a crime he has steadfastly maintained he did not commit. After he was denied access to DNA testing in state court, he filed a federal lawsuit alleging the violation of his right to due process. Federal courts ruled that Reed had run out of time to file his lawsuit, but in a 6-3 decision on April 19, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the statute of limitations had not run out on Reed. With the ruling in Reed v. Goertz, Reed will be able to pursue his quest for DNA testing in federal court.
Abolition of the death penalty in Washington state
Washington state has officially abolished the death penalty! Last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5087, which removes state laws deemed invalid or unconstitutional. In 2018, Washington’s Supreme Court struck down the death penalty based on its arbitrary and racially biased application, but the law had remained on the books until last month. Currently, 23 states have abandoned the death penalty through legislative or judicial action.
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturns death sentence of Joseph Jean
Last month, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the trial court in Harris County that Joseph Jean meets the standard for intellectual disability and ordered his death sentence be changed to life without parole. Jean, who has been on death row since 2011, is the 14th person to be resentenced in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Moore v. Texas (2017 and 2019), which required Texas to change the way it assesses intellectual disability in capital cases.
Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: The Case of Charles Don Flores
Did you know someone can be convicted and sentenced to death without any evidence linking them to the crime scence? That’s what happened to Charles Don Flores, who has spent more than 20 years on death row for a crime he maintains he did not commit. On Thursday, June 8, 2023, TCADP, with support from local and national partners, will host Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: The Case of Charles Don Flores.
During this community forum, Dr. John Wixted, an expert on memory and eyewitness identification, Gretchen Sween, Flores’s appellate attorney, and Dallas County exoneree Christopher Scott will discuss the case and some of the common elements of wrongful convictions. Join us from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Church of the Disciple (220 S Cockrell Hill Rd, DeSoto, TX 75115). For more information, contact TCADP Deputy Director Tiara Cooper at TCooper@tcadp.org.
RSVP here: https://forms.gle/2KdbQQiKWyky88vN9.
Coffee + Community
Join your fellow TCADP supporters in DFW for a local meet-up on Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at Union Coffee (3705 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas, TX 75219). Our Deputy Director Tiara Cooper will be holding space for all interested in learning more about TCADP and how to get connected with our ongoing efforts and events. To RSVP, email tcooper@TCADP.org.
TCADP members in San Antonio will sponsor an information table at El Paseo por El Westside on Saturday, May 6, 2023. The community event, organized by the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, will take place from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Rinconcito de Esperanza (Little Corner of Hope) at 816 S. Colorado St. If you would like to volunteer that day, email Coordinator, Mardi Baron, at firstname.lastname@example.org (please include “TCADP-San Antonio” in the subject line).
TCADP Book Group
The TCADP Book Group meets every six to eight weeks on Zoom and reads a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and memoirs. Join us for a discussion of Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice by Karen Houppert on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 7:30 PM Central Time. Register here.