Press Release May 28, 2002 Noon TMN Statement on decision by Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refusing to stop Napoleon Beazley's execution The relatively close 10-7 decision by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles not to recommend that Gov Perry commute Napoleon Beazley's death sentence to life in prison reflects a growing unease in Texas with the administration of the death penalty. Napoleon Beazley will most likely die tonight, although Gov Perry could still issue a 30-day reprieve, but the problems in the Texas capital punishment system will not go away. The problems in Napoleon's case that led seven members of the board to vote for commutation are among the same problems that make it necessary to halt all executions while Texas conducts a comprehensive study of the administration of the death penalty. "The close vote apparently came down to three things - Napoleon's status as a juvenile offender, the fact that many people on the board do not believe he had a fair trial during the sentencing phase and his obvious remorse for the murder of John Luttig. Here in Texas, people are belatedly coming to the conclusion that judicial decisions should be based on the relevant facts of a person's case and not on the color of a person's skin. Napoleon is an African-American who was sentenced to death by an all-white jury. Such a racist death sentence should not have been allowed to stand", said Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network. "Napoleon's life was almost saved because of the phenomenal efforts of his talented, hardworking appellate lawyers - Walter Long and David Botsford. Other people sit on death row in Texas not because they are the worst of the worst of all murderers, but because their lawyers were among the worst of the worst of all lawyers, especially at the trial level. Texas needs to enact a moratorium on executions in the next session of the Legislature so that reforms can be enacted to rid the system of incompetence once and for all. Let's judge defendants by their own actions and not by the incompetent actions of their lawyers. Let's make sure that people are not executed in Texas because of racism", said Cobb. A vigil for Napoleon will be held this afternoon, May 28, beginning at 5:30 PM at the Governor's Mansion in Austin (11th & Lavaca).