More information about each award recipient is available in the conference archives.
The TCADP Board of Directors was humbled to honor three capital defense attorneys whose zealous advocacy has spared numerous individuals from execution and impacted the future of the death penalty in Texas. Click here for a detailed description of each award recipient.
Cliff Sloan teaches Criminal Justice, Constitutional Law, and Death Penalty Litigation at Georgetown Law. Cliff led the legal team for Bobby Moore, whose case has fundamentally changed the way the State of Texas assesses intellectual disability claims in capital cases.
Gretchen Sween devotes her full-time practice to defending indigent individuals in death penalty cases. In June 2020, she secured a rare win at the U.S. Supreme Court in the capital case of Terence Andrus, who was convicted and sentenced to death in Fort Bend County in 2012 after his trial counsel failed to present or even investigate readily available mitigating evidence of his troubled upbringing and mental health issues.
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award
The recipient of the 2021 Founder’s Award was defense attorney Richard (“Dick”) Burr in recognition of his lifetime of zealous advocacy on behalf of individuals on death row in Texas and, particularly, his efforts on behalf of Billy Joe Wardlow and Cesar Fierro.
- Rick McClatchy, State Coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas, who led a clergy response to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s abrupt decision in April 2019 to remove chaplains from the execution chamber, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution to Patrick Murphy on grounds of religious discrimination.
- Quinncy McNeal, a Houston-based attorney with Mayer Brown who is part of Rodney Reed’s legal defense team. The team secured a stay of execution from the Texas Court of Criminals on November 15, 2019, just five days before Reed was scheduled to be put to death.
- The Honorable Elsa Alcala, who left the judiciary in 2018 after 20 years as a state judge in Texas, having served three different courts. During her 7.5 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, she authored over 80 signed majority opinions, 93 dissenting opinions, and 195 concurring opinions, many of which addressed the propriety of the death penalty. During the 2019 Texas legislative session, she advocated zealously for death penalty reforms as the policy director for the Texas Defender Service.
- Filmmakers Will Francome, Mark Pizzey, and Laura Shacham and their documentary films, “The Penalty” and “One for Ten.”
- State Representative Donna Howard, for co-authoring legislation to repeal the death penalty in the 85th Texas Legislature
- Larry James, for his outreach efforts on behalf of Chris Young, who was executed by the State of Texas on July 17, 2018
- Mitesh Patel, for publicly and selflessly calling for mercy for the man who killed his father and recognizing the spark of redemption in Chris Young
- Kent Whitaker, for displaying unconditional love and forgiveness in his tireless determination to secure clemency for his son, Thomas “Bart” Whitaker
- Laurence Thrush, whose powerful video interviews with Chris Young and his daughter, Crishelle Young, played a central role in our public mobilization campaign to stop Young’s execution.
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award:
- Keith Hampton, in recognition of the decades of zealous legal representation he has provided to individuals on death row in Texas and, particularly, his inspiring efforts to secure clemency for Kenneth Foster and Thomas Whitaker.
- Reverend Deanna Golsan, for sharing her story about her change of heart on the death penalty and her experience of ministering to the family of a man facing execution – and to the man himself – with Texas legislators and other faith leaders.
- House of Renewed Hope, an organization founded by several Dallas County exonorees who investigate wrongful convictions and correct injustices. We are especially grateful for their work on the death penalty case of Max Stoffar.
- Jeff Newberry, for his legal representation of Robert Pruett, who was executed by the State of Texas on October 12, 2017, and for the compassion and kindness he displayed towards Robert’s friends and family.
- Glenn and Judy Cherry, for their unwavering opposition to the death penalty for the man who killed their son, Jonas, and their public efforts to stop the execution of Paul David Story in April 2017.
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award:
- Rev. Wes Magruder, in recognition of his many important contributions to the cause of ending the death penalty, particularly his leadership in engaging United Methodists in the North Texas Conference on this issue.
Appreciation Award: Lindsey Pearlstein
Courage Award: Alfred Dewayne Brown
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.
Appreciation Awards: State Representative Alma Allen; Patricia Delgado; and KPFT 90.1 FM
Media Award: Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: Dominican Sisters of Houston
Appreciation Awards: Rev. Cheryl Smith; Alexandra Noll
Courage Award: Manuel Velez
Media Award: Alex Hannaford
Appreciation Awards: Paula Keeth; Maria Castillo; Ariana Campos; Burnham Terrell (posthumous)
Courage Award: State Rep. Terry Canales
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: Lon Burnam
Appreciation Awards: JC Dufresne; MFSA- Southwest Chapter
Media Awards: Steve Mims and Joe Bailey
Appreciation Awards: Kelly Epstein, Brother Brian Halderman
Courage Award: Jan Brown
Media Award: Jordan Smith
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: Bishop Joe A. Wilson
Appreciation Awards: Mary Loehlin; Professor Dennis Longmire; Jim and Sherry Coombes
Courage Award: Anthony Graves and his family
Media Award: Pamela Colloff
David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: Rev. Carroll Pickett
Appreciation Awards: Ron Carlson; Academy of Oriental Medicine in Austin
Courage Awards: Father Mark Miller and the other leaders of the TCADP Odessa Chapter, Judge Charlie Baird
Media Award: David Grann
Appreciation Awards: Deborah Michalewicz; Steve James; Peter Gilbert
Courage Award: Mayor John Cook
Media Award: Bob Ray Sanders
Special Thanks: Sara Hickman
Appreciation Awards: Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza; Genevieve Tarlton Hearon
Courage Award: Dallas Morning News Editorial Board
Special Thanks: Les Breeding
Appreciation Awards: Bill Pelke; Mario Marazziti; Susybelle Gosslee; President Vicente Fox; Bishop Gregory Aymond; Micki Dickoff
Courage Awards: Rev. Carol Pickett; Sam Millsap