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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dead Man Laughing

Patrick Knight has a MySpace page which is run by one of his friends outside prison since they don't have computers or internet access on death row. Knight is scheduled for execution in Texas on June 26 this year. You can write Governor Perry to protest this execution. Knight himself has come up with an idea for bringing attention to his execution. He is having a joke contest. From his MySpace:

I recently received a letter from Patrick Knight, a death row inmate in the Polunsky Unit in Texas. He has an execution date of June 26th 2007. In his own words "I'll be enjoying my last days on this earth. I'm not asking for any pen pals but I am asking you to spread the word that I am holding a contest. I want people to send me their best jokes, to keep me and the others with dates, laughing!"

The best joke, which will be determined by the inmates on death watch and will be recited in Patrick's "Last Statement". Instead of "Dead Man Walking" he will be "Dead Man Laughing".

Send jokes to:

Patrick Knight #999072
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 S.
Livingston, Texas 77351

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Peña calling it quits after one term as a Chair?

In an interview in The Monitor, the Chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee says he is thinking about not running for re-election to the House. Aaron Peña recently discredited himself by blocking the popular Innocence Commission proposal in his own committee. Paul Burka called his committee "talent poor" after it passed out a version of "Jessica's Law" without giving it "the scrutiny it should have received in committee". The well-respected criminal justice blog Grits For Breakfast said "this committee has been a HUGE disappointment". Peña cemented his reputation for being not quite ready for the big leagues by childishly redirecting a link on his blog of one of his hometown critics to a toilet sounds website. His acting out gave rise to the nickname Aaron "Toilet Sounds" Peña.

Peña's poor performance this session leading the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee raised the probability that he would only serve one term as chair. Now, it sounds like he has come up with an excuse for quitting other than the obvious one that he didn't do a very good job. According to The Monitor:

State Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, strongly suggested in an interview Friday evening that he might not run again for the Legislature now that his six-year quest to have a drug treatment center built in the Rio Grande Valley is coming to a close.

The final version of the state budget presented Friday includes $3 million to build a treatment center in Edinburg. He and other Valley lawmakers have pushed for the facility.

Peña’s 16-year-old son died May 18, 2001, of a drug overdose at a party. Peña was elected to the House in 2002 after promising in his campaign to improve access to substance-abuse treatment.

“When I first ran, my commitment was to build a drug treatment center, and now that it’s done, I feel like my work is done here,” Peña said.

Peña, 47, said he did not know when he would make a final decision whether to run for another two-year term. His current term ends in January 2009.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Science casts doubt on conviction of Cathy Henderson

The Austin American-Statesman published a story today that casts great doubt on the question of whether Cathy Henderson is guilty of capital murder. She has an execution date of June 13, 2007. Write Governor Perry to protest this scheduled execution. Whether or not anyone supports or opposes the death penalty, everyone should be able to agree that no one should be executed when there is scientific evidence casting doubt on the validity of the conviction.

From the Statesman:

As the doctor who autopsied 3-month-old Brandon Baugh, Robert Bayardo confidently told jurors in 1995 that the child was deliberately killed, not accidentally dropped on his head as baby sitter Cathy Lynn Henderson claimed.

The testimony was instrumental to Henderson's conviction and death sentence.

But on Thursday, with Henderson's execution less than three weeks away, Bayardo backed away from his emphatic testimony, telling a Texas appeals court that recent medical findings have cast doubt on his 12-year-old conclusions.

"Had the new scientific information been available to me in 1995, I would not have been able to testify the way I did," Bayardo said in a signed affidavit provided to a Texas court as part of an appeal filed Thursday on Henderson's behalf.

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Five Executions Scheduled in Texas in June 2007

In 2007, seventy percent of all executions in the U.S. have been conducted by the state of Texas.

Michael Griffith June 6

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Michael Griffith

TDCJ Info on Michael Griffith

Cathy Henderson June 13

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Cathy Henderson

Website for Cathy Henderson

TDCJ Info on Cathy Henderson

Lionell Rodriguez June 20

TDCJ Info on Lionell Rodriguez

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Lionell Rodriguez

Gilberto Reyes June 21

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Gilberto Reyes

TDCJ Info on Gilberto Reyes

Patrick Knight June 26

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Patrick Knight

TDCJ Info on Patrick Knight

Contact Governor Perry to Protest Each Execution

Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000 [office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST]
Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849

For anyone who wonders about stays on the day of an execution here is a number to call:
TDCJ Public information---1-936-437-1303 ----just ask if the execution is still scheduled.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

San Antonio Paper Blames Aaron Peña for Death of Innocence Commission Bill, but it is not too late for him to save it

The San Antonio Express News today wrote in an editorial that the fault for the Innocence Commission bill (SB 263) dying in committee belongs to the chair of the committee, Aaron Pena. Still, it is not to late for Chairman Peña to redeem himself. He could offer an amendment to SB 909 (the TDCJ Sunset bill) to add the Innocence Commission. It takes a 2/3s majority to amend a bill on 3rd reading, meaning 100 votes, but it is worth trying to get those votes in order to prevent more innocent people from languishing in prison.

Rep. Aaron Peña, chairman of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, said the bill failed due to a lack of votes. Four members, including Peña, voted for it and two voted against it. The bill needed five ayes to pass.

Three House committee members — Barbara Mallory Caraway, Terri Hodge and Paul Moreno — were absent during that vote.

All three have expressed support for the bill, and it's likely they would have voted in favor of it had the hearing been held in a timely fashion, according to the bill's House sponsor, Rep. Senfronia Thompson.

The committee has had the bill since April 24. It should not have languished as it did, and that is Peña's responsibility.

An innocence commission is imperative, particularly in a state like Texas, where the death penalty is supported and applied with fervor. If there are cases where prisoners have been wrongfully executed, shouldn't there be a commission tasked with determining how?

Serious questions have arisen, for example, in the case of Ruben Cantu, a San Antonio man who was executed in 1993. The key eyewitness, Juan Moreno, has recanted his testimony. There is speculation that he was pressured into fingering Cantu after claiming Cantu was not the burglar who shot him and murdered his companion.

If Cantu was innocent, it's too late for him. But it's not too late to learn how that case may have taken a wrong turn.

It's bad enough that people are serving years in prison or possibly being executed for crimes they did not commit.

That this state doesn't care enough to determine how or why is just as appalling.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hundreds of Austin homeless were fed, thanks to Philip Workman

Last week, we sent out an email asking TMN members to contribute to TSADP's pizza for the homeless project. We received about $150 in donations. Here is a report from the Texas Students Against the Death Penalty Blog:

Last Wednesday night, Tennessee executed Philip Workman despite his claims of innocence. For his last meal on earth, Philip Workman requested that his final meal be a vegetarian pizza donated to any homeless person located near Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. The Tennessee Department of Corrections refused saying they were too focused on the execution procedures. But lots of normal people stepped in and hundreds of pizzas were delivered last week to Nashville's homeless community in Philip Workman's.

Not only Tennesseans responded to Philip Workman's request. Texans also took action. Texas Students Against the Death Penalty in collaboration with House the Homeless collected donations from Austinites to purchase pizza. The Pizzas were delivered last Wednesday,May 16, at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). An act of generosity deserves notice and praise, regardless of who it was performed by and the mistakes they made in the past. Philip Workman used his last request to do something nice for homeless people. I thank him for that.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Texas Executes #393 - Five more in June

Another execution took place in Texas today, May 16. There are five executions scheduled in Texas in June, including a woman.

The AP reports:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Kansas prison escapee Charles Edward Smith was executed Wednesday evening for the fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy who was trying to pull him over for stealing $22.50 worth of gasoline from a service station.

Asked if he had a final statement, Smith replied, "No sir."

Smith was pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m.

He never looked at friends and relatives of the slain deputy, who watched through a window a few feet away.

Smith, 41, was the 14th condemned killer to receive lethal injection this year in Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review his case.

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Donate Pizza to Homeless at Request of Executed Man

Last Wednesday night, Tennessee executed Philip Workman despite his claims of innocence. For his last meal on earth, Philip Workman requested that his final meal be a vegetarian pizza donated to any homeless person located near Tennessee's Riverbend Maximum Security Institution (News
Report
). The Tennessee Department of Corrections refused, saying they
were too focused on the execution procedures. But lots of normal people stepped in and hundreds of pizzas were delivered last week to Nashville's homeless community in Philip Workman's name.


Not only Tennesseans have responded to Philip Workman's request. Texans are also responding. Texas Students Against the Death Penalty is collecting donations to purchase pizzas for thehomeless. The pizzas will be delivered Wednesday, May 16, at 1 PM at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless).


Hooman Hedayati, President of Texas Students Against the Death Penalty said, "An act of generosity deserves notice and praise regardless of who it was performed by and the mistakes they made in the past. Philip Workman used his last request to do something nice for homeless people. I thank him for that."

If you are interested in helping buy pizzas for homeless people in Philip Workman's name, please pitch in
a few dollars.


You can donate
money with your credit card
or by sending a check made out to "Texas Students
Against the Death Penalty" to:



Texas Students Against the Death Penalty

1109 S Pleasant Valley #197

Austin, Texas 78741


On Wednesday, May 16, 2007, Texas is scheduled to execute Charles Smith for the August 1988 murder of Tim Hudson. Smith will be the 393rd person executed in Texas since 1982 when executions in Texas resumed after an 18 year moratorium.

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Charles Smith on May 16, 2007


TDCJ Info on Smith


There will be a vigil/protest at the Texas governor's mansion as well as sites around
Texas from 5:30-6:30 P.M. on May 16 to protest the execution of Charles Smith


Google Map of Statewide Execution Vigil/Protest Sites

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Save Kenneth Foster Planning Meeting May 30

CEDP is putting together a planning meeting for an effort to stop the execution of Kenneth Foster. We'll be there. If we are going to stop executions in Texas, it will be because of coalition work like this. Everyone is welcome.

***HEY, TEXAS...SAVE THE DATE***

Wednesday, May 30th - Place and Time TBA

SAVE KENNETH FOSTER

http://www.myspace.com/kf999232

Public event and organizing meeting on behalf of Kenneth Foster, an innocent man on Texas' death row facing an execution date of August 30th. Kenneth is a leader of the DRIVE movement, a campaign by death-row inmates of non-violent protest for rights and dignity. A number of human rights and anti-death penalty groups will be coming together to plan and emergency campaign to save Kenneth. Watch this space for more details. For more about Kenneth: http://www.freekenneth.com">

More info: bmccann@mail.utexas.edu

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Jersey Senate Committee Approves Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

Congrats to New Jersey and the many people working there with New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP). They just succeeded in convincing a New Jersey Senate committee to approve a bill to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey.

This news goes to show what can happen when a state has a competent full-time person working to stop executions, or more than one such person, as they have in New Jersey. Last year, the most important major national foundation that funds anti-death penalty work in the U.S. had a chance to provide a coalition of Texas organizations with $50,000 to work against the death penalty, but they chose to send the money instead to other states, including $50,000 to Wisconsin, which has not had the death penalty since the mid 1800's, yes 1800's. It is good to fund anti-death penalty work in states where there have been no executions, but it is not morally defensible to give no funds to the one state where the most executions take place and where at least three innocent people have been executed, Ruben Cantu, Cameron Willingham and Carlos De Luna. For every dollar spent in other states against the death penalty, ten percent should be sent to Texas to help us stop executions in the number one death penalty state.

Ten Percent for Texas.

More from New Jersey:

Legislation to abolish New Jersey's 24-year-old, never-used death penalty and replace it with life without possibility of parole was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By a vote of 8-2, the committee approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate, where the committee chairman, Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), predicted it would pass.

If also passed by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Jon Corzine, who opposes capital punishment, it would make New Jersey the first state to legislatively abolish capital punishment since 1976. That was the year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first revised death penalty laws after striking them down nationwide four years earlier.

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Moreno's execution in Texas stayed today

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Jose Angel Moreno won a stay today, hours before his scheduled execution for the abduction and fatal shooting of a San Antonio college student more than two decades ago.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered further review of mitigating evidence on a 5-3 vote.

His attorneys argued that Moreno's jury was unable to consider evidence of a troubled childhood and other mitigating issues that could have influenced them to give Moreno a life sentence instead of death.

The appeal was based on a Supreme Court decision two weeks ago in three other Texas cases where justices ruled instructions to jurors were improper, attorney Scott Sullivan said.

The court had voted 4-4 on the appeal Wednesday night, with one judge abstaining, meaning the request to stop the execution was "neither granted nor denied," Sullivan said. He asked the court to reconsider, and the request was granted today.
Next week, Charles Smith, 41, is scheduled be executed in Texas.

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TX set to execute another 8th grade dropout today - Jose Moreno

One thing that jumps out at you if read through the information on the TDCJ website about people on death row, including both the still living and the already executed, is how many have a very low level of formal education. 8th grade seems to be a frequent educational end point for a lot of people who end up on death row.

Today, Texas is set to execute another 8th grade dropout, Jose Moreno.

Moreno, 39, would be the 14th Texas inmate executed this year in the nation's busiest death penalty state. Another inmate is set to die next week.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January refused to review Moreno's case.

His lawyers continued trying to block the execution, arguing in appeals that Moreno's jury was unable to consider evidence of a troubled childhood and other mitigating issues that could have influenced them to give Moreno a life sentence instead of death. The appeal was based on a Supreme Court decision two weeks ago in three other Texas cases where justices ruled instructions to jurors were improper, attorney Scott Sullivan said.

In an unusual outcome, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals voted 4-4 on the appeal, with one judge abstaining, meaning the request to stop the execution was "neither granted nor denied," Sullivan said.

"All of our energies now are centered on the U.S. Supreme Court," he said at midday Thursday. "We may have a decent chance."

Moreno, who dropped out of school after the eighth grade and who had a history of drug and alcohol use, declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled punishment.

Moreno will be the 393rd person to be executed in Texas since 1982.

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Jose Moreno

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Help Restore Habeas Corpus: Call Congress

Saw this first on Texas Kaos

Matt Stoller gives the heads up on MyDD.
I'm told there's an outside shot that House Democrats on the Armed Services Committee will put a restoration of habeas corpus into the Defense Department Authorization Bill being marked up tomorrow and Thursday. Apparently Chairman Skelton has the votes but there are concerns about whether to have this fight now.

Now's the time to let them know that this is something that we elected them to get done. There's a bit of fear that this vote could put freshmen members at risk, though I don't really know why as the data on this isn't compelling and the attack ads just didn't work in 2006.

And there's a Texas connection to work. Please take a moment if you can to make a call.


Sylvestre Reyes (TX-16) is on the House Armed Services Committee. If you can give his office a call to urge action on restoring habeas corpus now, here are the suggested talking points, courtesy of the Center for Constitutional Rights. (h/t to mcjoan on Dkos for the pointer)


Talking points

1. Habeas corpus is a core principle of the Western legal system. Since 1215, habeas corpus has been a major mechanism in ensuring that executive power, whether exercised by a king or a president, is checked.

2. Our nation's founders deemed the right of habeas corpus so important that they enshrined it into the Constitution.

3. Habeas corpus can be suspended by Congress only in times of rebellion or invasion, and neither is currently taking place.

4. Habeas corpus is a core democratic principle. If we are to continue to think of the United States as a free and democratic country, it is very important that we hold on to our Constitutional principles.

5. The Bush administration's "alternative procedure" - the Combatant Status Review Tribunal - is no substitute for habeas corpus. In the unfair and deeply flawed CSRT process, coerced evidence and secret evidence are allowed, and detainees cannot have an attorney represent them.

6. The detainees, many of whom are guilty of only being in the wrong place at the wrong time, have lost years of their lives due to the actions of the Bush administration. They must be given the right to challenge their detention so that these wrongs can begin to be righted.

7. People and countries around the world view the United States as lawless. We can begin to change that by restoring the right of habeas corpus to the almost 400 detainees at Guantánamo

Additional members to call if you have time for more than one call.

Leadership
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (202) 225-4965
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (202) 225-4131

Armed Services Committee Democrats

Ike Skelton, Missouri, Chairman, 202-225-2876
John Spratt, South Carolina, 202-225-5501
Solomon P. Ortiz, Texas, (202) 225-7742
Gene Taylor, Mississippi, 202 225-5772
Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, (202) 225-2726
Marty Meehan, Massachusetts, (202) 225-3411
Vic Snyder, Arkansas, 202-225-2506
Adam Smith, Washington, (202) 225-8901
Loretta Sanchez, California, 202-225-5859
Mike McIntyre, North Carolina, (202) 225-2731
Ellen O. Tauscher, California, (202) 225-1880
Robert A. Brady, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4731
Robert Andrews, New Jersey, 202-225-6501
Susan A. Davis, California, (202) 225-2040
Rick Larsen, Washington, (202) 225-2605
Jim Cooper, Tennessee, 202-225-4311
Jim Marshall, Georgia, 202-225-4311
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Guam, (202) 225-1188
Mark Udall, Colorado, (202) 225-2161
Dan Boren, Oklahoma, (202) 225-2701
Brad Ellsworth, Indiana, (202) 225-4636
Nancy Boyda, Kansas, (202) 225-6601
Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4276
Hank Johnson, Georgia, (202) 225-1605
Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire,(202) 225-5456
Joe Courtney, Connecticut, (202) 225-2076
David Loebsack, Iowa, 202.225.6576
Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, (202) 225-5614
Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-2011
Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, (202) 225-2542
Elijah Cummings, Maryland, (202) 225-4741
Kendrick Meek, Florida, 202-225-4506
Kathy Castor, Florida, (202)225-337

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Texas and Iraq; Two places where innocent people have been sentenced to death

Texas is not the only place where innocent people end up on death row and some are even executed as were Ruben Cantu, Cameron Willingham and Carlos De Luna. CNN has the story of an innocent woman on death row in Iraq.

Sitting on Iraq's death row is a 25-year-old woman convicted in the slayings of three relatives. She says her husband carried out the killings and fled. She confessed to being an accomplice, she says, only after being tortured in police custody.

Despite lingering questions about the case, the fate of Samar Saed Abdullah remains the gallows.

"I am innocent," she told CNN from inside the al-Kadhimiya Women's Prison in Baghdad. "The judge did not hear me out. He refused to hear anything I have to say. He just sentenced me." (Watch Abdullah cry as she tells her story Video)

According to Amnesty International, such claims are not uncommon in Iraq, which has the fourth-highest execution rate in the world.

Amnesty issued a report last month that concluded sentences in Iraq increasingly follow flawed trials and coerced confessions.

"In many cases, death sentences have been issued following proceedings which failed to meet international fair trial standards," the report said. "This represents a profoundly retrograde step."



Speaking of women on death row. Next month, Texas is scheduled to execute a woman named Cathy Henderson. Write Governor Perry asking him to stop the execution of Henderson.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Update on Cathy Henderson Case

From www.savecathyhenderson.org


In their successful motion to vacate Cathy's April execution date (see item below), Cathy's lawyers stated:

We anticipate that, when he has completed his investigation, Dr. Plunkett [the defense expert in injury biomechanics] will be able to advise this Court and all others that the injuries sustained by [Brandon Baugh] were entirely consistent with an accidental fall, and that advances in science now show that the injuries were not ― as the State claimed at trial in 1995 ― the product of a willful, deliberate, and murderous blow delivered by Ms. Henderson.

Accident v. deliberate act

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against Cathy at her trial was the testimony of Drs Bayardo (then Travis County Chief Medical Examiner) and Veasey (then Lubbock County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner). Dr Bayardo performed the autopsy on Brandon Baugh; Dr Veasey reviewed the autopsy report and provided an opinion based on that report. Each of these witnesses stated that Brandon's injuries could not possibly have been the result of an accident and that the nature of the injuries "proved" that Cathy deliberately killed Brandon by striking him with great force.

Dr Bayardo testified that in his opinion, Brandon died from skull injuries "consistent with striking his head against a blunt object," that it would have been "impossible" for the injury to have been caused "by a fall of four to four-and-a-half feet", that the baby would have to have fallen "from a height higher than a two-story building," or have had his head "run over by a car" or have been "involved in a motor vehicle accident".

The State offered no evidence that crime scene investigators found any evidence of the child’s death in any of the manners hypothesized by Dr. Bayardo.

Before her trial in 1995, Cathy's counsel presented a motion asking the Court for the funds necessary to hire an expert to perform a biomechanical investigation. The Court denied the motion without comment or explanation.

Cathy's defense team has now gained the services of an expert in injury biomechanics who will provide an in-depth analysis of the prosecution testimony about Brandon's injuries. This recently developed science is the "DNA" of Cathy's case. You can read more about it in the Motion to Vacate the Execution Date and the Memorandum in support of that motion presented to Judge Wisser by Cathy's current lawyers.


Where to now?

April 20th

Here's a quick update from Cathy's lawyers about the status of her case after Judge Wisser granted the 60-day reprieve:

We are working on a subsequent habeas petition that we expect to file before the end of April or early in May. We are waiting for all of the expert reports to be finalized before we file the petition. The petition will be filed with the same court that tried Cathy. The state will have an opportunity to oppose that petition and then the court will decide whether further proceedings are necessary. If the court decides not to order further proceedings, we will file a similar petition in the federal court.

If the court does decide to hold further proceedings, then it is likely her execution date will be postponed further. The bottom line is that we do not know what the timing is going to be. Once we file our petition, we will know more and we will be sure to advise everyone of any future hearing dates.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Easy Way to Donate from Europe to Stop Executions

Here is an easy way to donate to us if you live in Germany or other European countries. HelpDirect is Germany's largest nonprofit online portal. You can make donations to stop executions in Texas by bank transfer on their site. Just follow this link then click on Ich will spenden

.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Moratorium related proposal passes committee

A proposal related to a moratorium on executions passed unsurprisingly out of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence last Friday. The vote is below. TMN's members sent hundreds of emails to the chair and committee members since January. We say unsurpisingly because there are 7 Democrats and only 2 Republicans on this committee, so we figured they would do the right thing.

Unfortunately, the proposal is not likely to get much support from Republicans for a reason that was mentioned during the committee hearing. One member of the committee asked Naishtat, "We heard this bill passed this committee in 2001. What's the reluctance to pass it. What did you run in to." Naishtat replied: "I don't know. All I can guess is that the governor may not want the authority to be able to declare a moratorium. .... if we assume that the sitting governor does not want that authority, then I can understand there would be pressure from the governor's office to stop the bill from getting through."

There is a way to get around the governor's objections and at the same time to have a chance of enacting a moratorium sooner, since even if Gov Perry had the power to call a moratorium, he is unlikely to ever use the power. A better proposal was filed most recently last session by Garnet Coleman. It would have enacted a moratorium directly upon approval of the voters through a constitutional amendment. Instead of giving the governor the power to call a moratorium, the Legislature should do what was proposed in 2001 by Shapleigh (SJR 25) and Dutton (HJR 56) and in 2005 by Garnet Coleman (HJR 73), to bypass the governor and give the people of Texas the authority to enact a moratorium. Governor Perry may be more willing to support such a proposal rather than the proposal to give him the power to call a moratorium, since he can put the question up to the people and get it out of his hands. In 2001, the El Paso Times endorsed the proposal to have a statewide vote on a temporary two-year moratorium: "Let the people decide, Moratorium on executions should go to voters". The Legislature should also find a bill to amend to include a provision to create a commission to study capital punishment.

From the minutes of last Friday's House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee:

The chair moved that HJR 23, without amendments, be reported favorably to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass and be printed. The motion prevailed by the following record vote:

Ayes: Representatives Pena; Vaught; Escobar; Hodge; Mallory Caraway (5).

Nays: Representative Riddle (1).

Present, Not Voting: None (0).

Absent: Representatives Moreno, Paul; Pierson; Talton (3).

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Two Executions Scheduled in Texas in May: Take Action

Jose Moreno May 10

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Jose Moreno

TDCJ Info on Moreno

Charles Smith May 16

Write Gov Perry to Protest the Execution of Charles Smith on May 16, 2007

TDCJ Info on Smith

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