Monday, April 22, 2002

April 2002 Newsletter

1) A Chance to Elect a Republican Who Opposes Capital Punishment.
2) The Race for State Representative in District 51 in Austin.
3) The Race for State Senator in District 20.
4) List of Upcoming Scheduled Executions
5) Death Row Ten Tour: Live From Death Row!
6) March Against the Death Penalty in San Antonio

Greetings moratorium supporters!

1) A Chance to Elect a Republican who Opposes Capital Punishment.

The moratorium movement has before it an historic opportunity to elect a
Republican supporter to the Texas Legislature.

On April 9, there will be a runoff election between two Republicans for the
District 28 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. As there are no
Democratic candidates running for the seat, the winner of the runoff will
win the election. This district includes all of Waller and Wharton counties
and 19 percent of Fort Bend County.

One of the candidates is Gary Gates. Gary, whose father was murdered when
he was 18, opposes the death penalty.

In addition, he supports a moratorium on executions, as well as legislation
banning executions of juvenile offenders and people with mental retardation.

According to his reply to a survey distributed by Texas Moratorium
Network, if elected, Mr. Gates would vote for a moratorium on executions,
for a ban on executions of persons with mental retardation and for a ban on
executions of juveniles.

Mr. Gates understands this issue better than most people. He has a daughter
with severe mental retardation and has adopted several children who were
considered "unadoptable" because of various personality and behavioral
problems stemming from abuse and neglect. Because he has proven it with his
own children, Mr. Gates believes that most children can be managed so that
they live productive lives.

Mr. Gates and his wife of 20 years, Melissa, have 13 children. They adopted
11 children--white, African-American, and Hispanic--several from a broken
foster care system. They are well acquainted with the social, educational,
and psychological issues that families encounter.

Mr. Gates's presence in the legislature could have a huge impact for our
movement -- if he is elected. He could help us reach across party lines and
make this a truly bi-partisan effort. In the last session of the
Legislature, only one Republican voted in favor of a moratorium on
executions. About 60 Democrats voted for the moratorium either on the floor
or in committee, including Senator Ken Armbrister, the senator representing
Gary's area. We believe having Gary in the legislature could dramatically
affect the terms of the debate on the death penalty in Texas.

And with our help, Mr. Gates has a good chance to win!

Consider the following: In a five-way primary, Mr. Gates came in second (28
percent) to the top vote-getter, who got only 29 percent. Anyone who did not
vote in the Democratic primary is eligible to vote in the Republican runoff.

Even if you do not consider yourself Republican, we are asking you to
cross over and vote for Gary in this Republican runoff. Only about 10
percent of the district voted on Primary Election Day, so turning out
moratorium supporters for the runoff will have an enormous impact.

In the 2000 Presidential Election, 36 percent of the district voted
Democratic. Remember, there is no Democrat running in Gary's race. For
Democrats, the only choice to have an impact on who represents District 28
is to vote for Gary Gates in the Republican runoff. For Republicans, the
best choice is clearly Gary Gates.


1) If you or someone you know lives in District 28 (it includes all of
Wharton and Waller Counties and 19% of Fort Bend County --a large area to
the west of Houston) please tell them of this opportunity and urge them to
vote for Gary Gates on April 9.

2) Volunteer to work a phone bank or walk precincts sometime before the
primary, probably the weekend of April 6-7 or on election day April 9th.
You can contact the Gary Gates campaign at 281-232-3497.

3) Pass this message on to opponents of the death penalty, and supporters of
a moratorium.

4) Make a contribution to Mr. Gates's campaign fund. The address is:

"Friends of Gary Gates for State Representative"
2205 Ave. I Suite 121 Rosenberg, TX 77471

Donations to the Gary Gates Campaign are not tax-deductible.

Again, this is a crucial opportunity. With our support, Gary Gates will
help us roll back the death penalty in Texas.

There are a couple of other runoffs that involve people who either answered
our survey favorably or who have voted for a moratorium in the last session
of the Legislature.

2) The Race for State Representative in District 51 in Austin.

In the State Representative District 51 race in Austin, Eddie Rodriguez
replied to our survey by saying he supports a moratorium on executions and a
commission to study the death penalty, supports banning executions of people
with mental retardation, supports banning executions of juvenile offenders
and supports giving juries the option of Life Without Parole as an
alternative to the death penalty. He commented, "I do not believe in the
death penalty for anyone. I would support a complete moratorium."

His opponent did not reply to our survey, so we can not say for sure what
her postitions are. We've heard "here and there" that she also supports our
issues, but it would have been nice if she had answered our survey.

3) The Race for State Senator in District 20.

House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa,
D-McAllen, is running for State Senator in District 20, which runs from the
Corpus Christi area to the Valley. Chairman Hinojosa was one of the
advocates for reforming Texas death penalty laws last session. He chaired
the House committee that favorably reported moratorium proposals and he
voted for the moratorium. He sponsored legislation to ban executions of
with mental retardation.

He was the principal House sponsor of the Texas Fair Defense Act,
establishing uniform state-wide standards for appointment and compensation
of defense counsel representing indigent persons accused of crime, including
capital cases. He sponsored legislation to give juries the additional
option of Life Without Parole in capital cases. He was the principal House
sponsor of the new law providing for post-conviction access to DNA testing.

Hinojosa's opponent did not answer our survey. She also did not reply to our
emails or phone messages.

So, please get out on April 9 and support the candidates who support us!

4) Scheduled Upcoming Executions, according to the TDCJ, changes are

04/10/2002 Jose Santellan, Sr.
04/11/2002 William Burns
04/18/2002 Gerald Casey
04/30/2002 Rodolfo Hernandez
05/01/2002 Curtis Moore

5) Death Row Ten Tour: Live From Death Row!

The Death Row Ten are the men of Illinois who were tortured into false
confessions by corrupt members of the Chicago police department led
by Jon Burge, who was fired from the Chicago police department on
February 10, 1993, for torture. These confessions sentenced them to the
death penalty. Come listen to David Bates, a freed torture victim, Marlene
Martin of the National Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and local
speakers regarding the Yogurt Shop case and others. Most importantly,
there will be a live call-in from a Death Row 10 member currently on
Death Row in Illinois.

Date and Time: Saturday April 13--5:00pm.
Location: University of Texas at Austin Campus
CMA room 2.320 (corner of Whitis and 26th Streets)
Organized by Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Austin Chapter

6) The St. Mary's University Student Chapter of Amnesty International USA,
with the co-sponsorship of the Esperanza Center, St. Mary's Chapter of
LULAC, and Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation will hold a march at
3 p.m. April 14th to demand that the Texas Criminal Justice system review
the case of Napoleon Beazley, the to support a moratorium on the
executions, and to mourn the loss of all human beings due to murder - state
sanctioned or otherwise.

The march will begin in front of the Alamo and end at San Fernando
Cathedral, where speakers will address the racial discrepancies and classis
inconsistencies of capital punishment, the moral dilemmas it raises, and
the particular case of Napolean Beazley. Jeanette Popp, whose daughter was
murdered and who testified for a moratorium in front of the state
legislature will be just one of four speakers including: Dave Atwood
(founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty), Tom Keene
(coordinator for the Death Penalty subcommittee of justice and peace
commission of Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio), and Roger Barnes (a UIW
professor and expert on the Death Penalty).

For more information, contact Joseph Triglio at 210-256-6985, or
. If you can be in the San Antonio area on Sunday April
14, please try to attend this important gathering.

Thank you for your continued support and activism! Because of you, we are
making great progress in the movement to establish a moratorium on

Best Regards,

Scott Cobb
Texas Moratorium Network

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