May 2002 Newsletter 1) Moratorium declared in Maryland. 2) Call for clemency for Napolean Beazley. 3) A word of thanks. Texas Moratorium Network 14804 Moonseed Cove Austin, TX 78728 512-302-6715 www.texasmoratorium.org Greetings moratorium supporters! GREAT NEWS! Today (Thursday May 9) Maryland Governor Parris Glendening declared a moratorium on executions in his state. This halt to executions will remain in effect until a University of Maryland study of racial bias is released and reviewed by the General Assembly. This comes after years of persistent grass-roots efforts in and outside of the Maryland General Assembly. Last year the Maryland House passed a moratorium bill, and only a filibuster in the Maryland Senate prevented the bill from reaching the Governor's desk. After this setback, activists redoubled their efforts, lobbying their legislators and gathering moratorium resolutions. Today their hard work has been rewarded. Certainly, if the State of Maryland has concluded that a halt to executions is necessary, a halt to executions in Texas is absolutely imperative! HERE IN TEXAS One the major reasons we need a moratorium in Texas is that we continue to execute juvenile offenders (people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime). In the last decade, the handful of nations that still executed juvenile offenders began to curtail the practice, so that now the United States stands virtually alone in continuing this practice. Not unrelated to this is the fact that the U.S. is also the only nation in the world (except Somalia which has no functioning government) not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Within the U.S. Texas is one of only three states that has executed juvenile offenders in recent years. And on May 28, Texas is scheduled to execute Napoleon Beazley. Napoleon Beazley was a gifted 17-year-old African American honor student with no previous criminal record at the time of the crime, and he was sentenced to death in by an all-white jury for the murder of the father of a prominent Federal judge. There are many problems with his case, beyond the fact that he is a juvenile offender; his case in fact illustrates much of what is wrong with the Texas death penalty, and why we need a moratorium. WHAT YOU CAN DO First, get more information. Go to: http://www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/beazley.html Second, send a free fax to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Go to our website at: http://www.texasmoratorium.org/ Third, if you live in Abilene, Amarillo, Angleton, Austin, Gatesville, Huntsville, Palestine, or San Antonio, you can call or visit your local Board of Pardons and Paroles office. To get contact information, go to: http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/bpp/boardm.html. Call, fax, or, better yet, visit them and urge them to recommend to Governor Perry that he grant clemency for Napoleon Beazley. Fourth, if you live in any of the above cities, or anywhere else in Texas, get yourself on talk radio. It's easy, it only takes a few minutes, and it can have an enormous impact. If you are interested in doing this, contact Eva Owens at ProTex in Austin: 512-441-8123, , and she will provide whatever guidance or assistance you need. Fifth, postcards addressed to the Board of Pardons and Paroles are also available from Eva. If you know of an event that is happening real soon, or a mailing that is going out real real soon, and you feel you can distribute a large number of these cards to people who will sign them and mail them right away, please let Eva know. Sixth, as always, contact your legislators. Go to: http://www.texasmoratorium.org/mod.php?mod=userpage&menu=12&page_id=17 and enter your zipcode; from here you can once again send a free fax to each of your legislators. Use any or all of the talking points from the free fax action above. Also, remind your legislators that in 2001 the Texas House passed a bill to end the execution of juvenile offenders (this bill ran out of time in the Senate), and urge them to support any and all such legislation in 2003. Also, urge them, in light of the many shortcomings evident in Napoleon Beazley's case, to support a moratorium on executions in 2003. A WORD OF THANKS We appreciate all the hard work that you all have done on this issue in the past, and we are looking forward to working with you all during the 2003 legislative session. For now, it is our hope that every one of the 2000 or so people on this mailing list can take at least some of the above actions. Despite the fact that our capital punishment system remains massively flawed, the pace of executions in Texas is increasing at an alarming rate; it is more important than ever for us to stand up and be counted. And the success in Maryland should give us hope. As in Maryland, the public in Texas clearly is no longer enthralled with the death penalty. Unfortunately, our politicians still are -- but working together, we can and will make sure our politicians get the message. We can stop the execution of Napoleon Beazley on May 28, and, in 2003, we can stop all executions in Texas. Moratorium Now!