Friday, February 29, 2008

Kinky Friedman Endorses Rick Reed at State Capitol Press Conference

For Immediate Release
February 29, 2008

Austin—Today, Kinky Friedman, renowned Texas author, musician, humorist, and former independent candidate for Texas Governor, announced his endorsement of Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney.“

Rick Reed has impressed me with the candor and courage that he has exhibited, both while serving as an assistant district attorney and while campaigning for Travis County District Attorney.”

“Rick Reed was heavily involved in the investigation of the Tom DeLay case, and over the vehement objections of several other prosecutors involved in the investigation he was the only one with the courage to push the Travis County DA to present the case to the grand jury.”

“Rick Reed is the only candidate for Travis County District Attorney who has had the courage to stand up and candidly tell the voters of Travis County that, if elected, he will uniformly seek imprisonment for life without parole, rather than the death penalty, in all capital murder cases.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of Kinky Friedman,” remarked Reed. “Kinky and I have both given considerable thought to this issue, he as a potential 2010 gubernatorial candidate, and I as a candidate for Travis County District Attorney.”

“We agree that now that Texas law provides the option of imprisonment for life without parole in capital murder cases, it no longer makes sense for the Travis County District Attorney to seek the death penalty in any case where that punishment is an option.”

“I don’t care about polls when it comes to the death penalty,” Kinky said. “It’s really holding Texas back from what it could become. Absolutely, it’s got to go, and the time has come for Travis County voters to elect a district attorney with the courage to stand up and say so.”


For more information: Rick Reed, 512.351.1897

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What sets Rick Reed apart...

Rick Reed has the smarter, more progressive stance on the issue of capital punishment...

No doubt about it ... heinous, horrific crimes occasionally take place in Travis County. When they do, Rick Reed understands and respects the pain felt by the victims' friends and family members.

But Rick Reed also believes the procedure of strapping human beings to a table and injecting them with a chemical cocktail that anesthetizes them, paralyzes them and then sends them into cardiac arrest, is never an acceptable way for a civilized society to respond to the crimes those human beings committed.

Especially when we consider the fact that some of the persons strapped to that table may not have committed the crime for which they are being executed.

Rick Reed wants to make one thing very clear -- under his leadership, the Travis County District Attorney's office will not seek the death penalty in any case. Why not?

In addition to being incredibly inhumane, the execution procedure is incredibly expensive
A 1991 study of capital punishment in Texas found that the costs associated with a death penalty case amounted to more than $2.3 million. But the cost of housing a prisoner in a Texas maximum-security prison single cell for 40 years was $750,000.

Rick Reed believes the extra hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pursue the death penalty would be more wisely applied toward prosecuting many other murder cases, capital murder cases and other crimes involving violent offenders. Read More

A more sensible alternative to capital punishment now exists
In 2005, the Texas State Legislature approved "Life without Parole" as a sentencing option in capital murder cases.

This option guarantees the safety of our citizens. It also eliminates the possibility of our executing an innocent person and saves the taxpayers the exorbitant costs associated with pursuing and carrying out the death penalty. Read More

Just because we have the right to pursue a lethal injection, does not mean it is the right thing to do.

Read more about Rick Reed's smarter and more progressive stance on the issue of capital punishment.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Travis district attorney candidate Rick Reed shakes up race

Today's Austin American-Statesman has a profile on Rick Reed: "Travis district attorney candidate Reed shakes up race: Longtime prosecutor invokes DeLay case, wouldn't seek death penalty".

Reed has pledged that if elected, he would never seek the death penalty. "I've never had a burning desire to kill another human being," he said.

Reed has attacked fellow candidate Rosemary Lehmberg, the first assistant district attorney. He said that while he pushed District Attorney Ronnie Earle to present the case against then-U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, to a grand jury in 2005, Lehmberg advised Earle against it.

Most recently, the 52-year-old Reed said that as part of the same investigation — into the use of corporate money in the 2002 Texas elections — he advised Earle that a dismissal agreement struck with four corporate defendants in the case was unethical. He warned that it could lead to charges that prosecutors illegally coerced or extorted money that the businesses agreed to give to an educational program as part of the deal.

With the comments, Reed, who resigned as an assistant district attorney after speaking to reporters about the DeLay case, has emerged as the maverick in the field of contenders in the March 4 Democratic primary.

Sandy Leeds, a UT finance lecturer who in the early 1990s was a young prosecutor working under Reed in Dallas, said Reed stood out among lawyers for his integrity.

"Rick was a guy who I really respected," Leeds said. "He wasn't trying to put the most years on anyone that he could. He was trying to give them fair sentences."

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rick Reed: A smarter stance on drug offenses...

Rick Reed has the smarter, more progressive stance on how to reduce drug offenses in Travis County

Does Rick Reed believe Texas's drug laws must be respected? Absolutely.

Does he think sending drug offenders to prison is the most effective -- and efficient -- use of your tax dollars? Absolutely not ... especially when it is that person's first drug-related offense ... and no one else was harmed.

Reed's smarter, more progressive solution? Direct many more non-violent drug offenders into the county's existing S.H.O.R.T. (System of Healthy Options for Release and Transition) program. S.H.O.R.T. is a tough, no-nonsense drug-diversion court that has a strong track record at keeping drug offenders from repeating their crimes.

Why does Reed consider the S.H.O.R.T. program superior to incarceration?

1. Prison almost never solves the problem, while the S.H.O.R.T. program often does.

We all know that prison rarely reforms a criminal; in many cases, drug-offenders become more hardened and are back behind bars within a couple of years of their release.

In contrast, a recent evaluation of the S.H.O.R.T. program found its graduates are less likely to be arrested again than are those who don't participate in the program or fail to complete it. In fact, S.H.O.R.T. graduates had no subsequent arrests for drug offenses. Read more

2. It costs taxpayers far less to send drug offenders through the S.H.O.R.T. program than to house them in a prison cell.

It costs taxpayers more than $11,000 a year to incarcerate a non-violent drug offender. But it costs only $3,500 to put that same person through the year-long S.H.O.R.T. program -- and some of that cost is borne by the defendant.

And, S.H.O.R.T. saves thousands more per defendant per year because it eliminates the multiple court hearings, court-appointed counsel, police interviews, trials, etc. associated with convicting and incarcerating a defendant. Read more

As district attorney, Rick Reed will work to steer into the S.H.O.R.T. program every person arraigned for a drug offense who qualifies under the program's guidelines.

The goal? Far fewer drug-related crimes in the long-term ... and less taxpayer money wasted imprisoning people who -- with a commitment to the program -- stand a strong chance of once again becoming productive citizens.

Read more about Rick Read's smarter and more progressive stance on how to reduce drug-related crimes in Texas.

Go ahead and cast your vote today!

You don't have to wait until March 4 to say you want to see Rick Read's smarter, more progressive perspective take the reins of the Travis County District Attorney's office. Here's where you can early vote and the hours those polling locations are open.

We are reprinting this from an email.

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Mike Farrell Endorses Rick Reed for District Attorney

A message from Mike Farrell regarding the race for Travis County District Attorney in Texas

Yes, in Texas, prosecutors can pursue the death penalty for some types of crimes.

We can strap human beings to a table, inject them with a chemical cocktail that anesthetizes, paralyzes, and triggers cardiac arrest, resulting in what some would call a "humane death."

Texas can hope new technologies won't exonerate these men and women in the future. We can look the other way from all the inequities in death sentencing by race and economic class.

We can even punish people with lethal injection and feel justified that ... well, at least we're not hanging, electrocuting or standing them in front of a firing squad...

...but we don't have to.

Just because you can do something in Texas doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

Rick Reed is the only candidate for Travis County District Attorney who has pledged to halt the practice of seeking the death penalty.

View the Rick Reed TV spotRick Reed is positioned to win this race and strike a major blow against the death penalty in Texas.

Only one thing stands in his way — getting this television ad on the air. Unfortunately, many Travis County voters will never hear Rick Reed's message...

...unless we have your help. TAKE ACTION TODAY!

If 199 other opponents of the death penalty will join me and contribute just $100 to the Rick Reed campaign, we can purchase the television time we need to get our message in front of Travis County voters.

Make a campaign contribution now!Go online now and make a secure contribution with a credit card. $100 is ideal, any amount will help.

Forward this message to others!Forward this message to others you know who care about this issue. Ask them to also help.

Because we can do something about the death penalty in Texas ... and it's the right thing to do.

Actor and producer Mike Farrell is perhaps best known for his role as B.J. Hunnicutt on the television series M*A*S*H.  Also a well-known human rights activist, Farrell and other death penalty opponents from around the world are paying close attention to the race for Travis County District Attorney.  Mike Farrell endorses and supports Rick Reed.  Won't you?

Democrat Rick Reed for District Attorney

Democrat Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney

Political advertising authorized by Richard Dale Reed • 815-A Brazos, #313 • Austin, TX, 78701
Glenn H. "Pete" Steele, Jr., Treasurer • +1.800.277.3014 • Visit

Unable to see the images and links in this message from Mike Farrell and the Rick Reed campaign?
You can also view it as a Web page at:

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Texan Columnist: Rick Reed best choice for district attorney

Last week, The Daily Texan Editorial Board endorsed Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney. Yesterday, one of their regular columnists wrote a long article entitled, "Rick Reed best choice for district attorney".

The only candidate who has come out against the death penalty is Reed, and his adamant anti-death penalty platform would bring fundamental change from the status quo, pro-death penalty campaigns of the other three candidates. Reed is by far the most progressive candidate in this race.

Reed's view on the death penalty is not the only thing that sets him apart. He supports expanding the use of drug courts to divert more people charged with drug possession into treatment, freeing up more prosecutors for other crimes. He has promised to work closely with the Innocence Project to investigate cases of possible wrongful convictions, as has been done recently by the Dallas County DA. Reed wants to decentralize decision-making in the office, giving front-line prosecutors more discretion over their cases. Most importantly, he spearheaded the money-laundering case against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and he told the Texas Observer that he was the only person within the DA's office pushing for an indictment against Delay, while Lehmberg opposed prosecuting the powerful politician.
The colunm also criticizes Gary Cobb for being the most pro death penalty candidate in the race and for his handling of the LaCresha Murray Case.
Cobb has made the strongest pro-death penalty statements, having said that "some people didn't deserve to keep living."

Cobb also came under fire when he used a coerced confession to convict Lacresha Murray, an 11-year-old girl charged with capital murder in 1996. Cobb was the lead prosecutor in her case, which was later thrown out by a Republican appeals court after receiving national coverage on "60 Minutes" questioning the reasoning for charging someone so young with a capital crime.
At last night's DA forum sponsored by the Cat Mountain Homeowners Association and Austin Neighborhoods Council, Cobb once again came across as the most pro-death penalty candidate. At one point he bragged about having been endorsed by Rusty Hubbarth of the pro-death penalty advocacy group Justice For All. Hubbarth often appears on TV whenever the media needs a Texan to argue in favor of the death penalty. He was in favor of giving the death penalty to Andrea Yates, even though Andrea's husband opposed doing so. Hubbarth also favored expanding the death penalty to people who do not even kill anyone in Jessica's Law cases.

Off the Kuff has a quote by Hubbarth from a committee hearing at the Texas Legislature:
JFA representative Rusty Hubbarth, testifying to Texas legislators last year on a proposal for a moratorium on executions, was asked by one lawmaker, "Rusty, you're not in favor of executing innocent people, are you?"

"Not this week," Hubbarth joked.

The humor was probably lost on two men in attendance that day. Randall Adams and Kerry Cook had collectively spent more than a decade in prison for crimes they didn't commit -- they'd both come within hours of execution.
Gary Cobb would do well to disassociate himself from the likes of Rusty Hubbarth.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney TV Spot

Visit Rick Reed's Website

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American-Statesman Out of Touch With Austin

The Austin American-Statesman endorsed George W. Bush for president on October 10, 2004. Bush went on to lose Travis County 56 percent to 42 percent. Once again, the Statesman is showing how out of touch it is with progressive Austin voters by saying the Statesman Editorial Board could not endorse Rick Reed for Travis County District Attorney because of his rejection of the death penalty.

Instead, the Statesman is endorsing the most pro-death penalty candidate in the race and the one who was the lead prosecutor who charged an 11 year old girl with capital murder, only to see his conviction of her overturned because he allowed a coerced interrogation statement to be used in the trial even though it was obtained without her being able to have either a lawyer or her parents present and even though she did not even understand what the word "homicide" meant.

Rick Reed is standing up for Austin values. He is standing up for us. He stood up for us when he pushed to indict Tom Delay for using corporate money to influence the outcome of elections. He is standing up for us by rejecting the death penalty.

Rick Reed has shown that when the chips are down, Austin can count on him to stand up and fight for them and their progressive values.

The Statesman backed the right wing candidate in the November 2004 presidential election and they are backing another pro-death penalty conservative for Travis County DA, but the people of Travis County can reject their conservative advice on March 4, just like they rejected their endorsment of George W Bush in 2004.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Nation praises "Rick Reed in Texas" for Travis County DA

The Nation magazine has an article praising the campaign of "Rick Reed in Texas" for Travis County District Attorney.


Among the field of former colleagues, one candidate, Rick Reed, stands out as "the most progressive candidate in a race with three other candidates who all support the death penalty" according to the Texas Moratorium Network in its endorsement of Reed, who has come out against capital punishment. He also calls for a moratorium on current death sentences.

Beyond Reed's brave disavowal of capital punishment in Texas, which leads the nation in state executions, the longtime criminal prosecutor supports the increased use of drug courts and an increased diversion of drug possession cases into treatment programs rather than incarceration; he has vowed to continue with the prosecution of former House Majority Leader TomDeLay, whom Reed had a major role in building a case against, and he has committed to working with the Innocence Project to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners.

Reed first worked at the Dallas County District Attorney's office. For twelve years, he assisted legendary District Attorneys Henry Wade and John Vance. In 1999, his career brought him to Travis County, where Ronnie Earle quickly assigned him to the office's Public Integrity Unit, in which capacity Reed had the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting public officials statewide. This is where Tom DeLay met the man determined to hold him accountable.

Click here to find out more about Reed, and if you like what you see, click here to support his campaign.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Help Elect Rick Reed by Calling Voters on His Behalf From Your Own Home

If you would like to help Rick Reed become the most progressive District Attorney in the history of Travis County, you can help by making calls to voters in Travis County telling them why you are supporting Rick Reed.

Go to to get started.

Scroll down the list of candidates and click on "Rick Reed". Then enter your name, email and zipcode and you'll immediately be able to select any precinct to call in Travis County! A screen will then appear with your first voter to call.

Take some time to review that page before making your first call; after a couple of calls we guarantee you'll get the swing of it. Be yourself and go off the suggested script, if necessary, to convey why you believe voters should cast votes for Rick Reed (For instance, he is the most progressive candidate in the DA race. He would not seek the death penalty in Travis County, instead using life without parole. He has proven that he can stand up to powerful politicians with the Public Integrity Unit).

Visit Rick's website for more information on him

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Tomorrow's Scheduled Execution Canceled

TDCJ still lists an execution scheduled for tomorrow, Feb 21, 2008, but it was canceled a while back at the request of the Dallas County DA pending the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Baze case. TDCJ just has not updated their website yet. Karl Chamberlain is the person who was scheduled for execution.

We called the TDCJ Public Information Office in Huntsville at 936-437-6052 to confirm that it is canceled.

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Alternative Spring Breaks on Iraq, Death Penalty and Climate Change

In 2004, Texas Moratorium Network started an innovative Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break on the issue of the death penalty to train the next generation of human rights leaders. One of our original goals of the spring break was to encourage students to start student organizations against the death penalty, which is exactly what happened. A group of participants started a national group called Students Against the Death Penalty, as well as a Texas group called Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, which are now the main organizers of the event.

This year, Campus Progress is co-sponsoring the fifth year of the Anti Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break and has started two others on the issues of Iraq and Climate Change.

Click below for more information on each one and to register.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rick Reed Wins Endorsement of The Daily Texan

Congratulations to Rick Reed for winning the endorsement of The Daily Texan for his campaign for Travis County District Attorney. We agree with the Texan that Reed "has proven to be the toughest candidate to handle" the Public Integrity Unit, which has the power to investigate state officials. We will all be able to sleep easy at night knowing Rick Reed is Texas' watchdog over public officials who do wrong.

Rick Reed's stance against the death penalty reflects the values that make Travis County the most progressive community in Texas.

If Rick Reed is elected, the people of Travis County will live in the first community in Texas where the death penalty is officially not an option. The day will eventually come when the death penalty will not be used anywhere in Texas. With Rick Reed's election, the people of Travis County can say that the end of the Texas death penalty started in Travis County.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Travis DA Debate on News 8 Austin This Weekend

We have already decided who we are supporting in the race to become the next DA in Travis County, but if you are still undecided, News 8 Austin is airing a debate between the candidates for Travis County District Attorney this weekend. They taped the debate Tuesday.

Texas Moratorium Network PAC has decided to endorse Rick Reed, because his policy positions best reflect the progressive values of Travis County.

Watch the debate this weekend, listen to the candidates positions on the issues and you will probably agree with us that Rick Reed should be the next DA in Travis County. Or you can watch our online video of the candidates forum we co-sponsored on Feb 4.

According to the News 8 Website:

You have three opportunities this weekend to watch a debate among the four Democratic Primary candidates for Travis County District Attorney on News 8 Austin.

The debate will be on News 8 Saturday at 5 p.m., and twice on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also, beginning this weekend you can catch the debate at your convenience on News 8-on-Demand on Time Warner Cable Channel 1408.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News8: DA Race Contenders on Death Penalty

By: Paul Brown

Q: In the past, Travis County has been reluctant to pursue the death penalty in capital cases. Under your leadership, how will the DA's office approach the death penalty?

Rosemary Lehmberg: We seldom seek the death penalty in Travis County and I will continue that practice. We now have life without parole. It's still the law and if there is a situation in which I believe that a Travis County jury should have the option of seeking the death penalty, I will do it. I have been reluctant to call for an all out moratorium. Right now, I believe we need to oppose any executions until the United States Supreme Court has had time to determine whether our Texas procedure is Constitutionally sound.

Mindy Montford: Well, you've got to look a number of factors. You know, you have to look at what the community wants and values. You've got to consult with the victims, their families. You've got to consult with other prosecutors within your office and community leaders to really find out what the pulse is and if seeking the death penalty would be prudent in that particular case. It is a very serious matter. You've got to take into account all factors. At the end of the day, though, it is the District Attorney's decision.

Rick Reed: Under my leadership as District Attorney, the Travis County District Attorney's office will not seek the death penalty in any case. The Legislature has changed the law. We now have what's called life without parole as an option in capital murder cases and it's my belief that seeking the death penalty and expending the resources that are necessary to seek the death penalty is essentially a waste of resources that could otherwise be better used to prosecute other murder cases, other capital murder cases and other cases involving violent offenders. There is, in my judgment, simply no justification now that that exists to spend those resources seeking the death penalty. And so we will not seek the death penalty.

Gary Cobb: I don't know that we've been necessarily reluctant, but I think that we recognize that the death penalty should be reserved only for the most egregious cases for the defendants who represent a great threat to society and that they represent a continuing threat where they might harm another person in society, even if it's in prison society.

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Video of Travis County DA Forum

Texas Moratorium Network & ACLU-TX Central TX Chapter held a community forum with the candidates for TRAVIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY on Monday, February 4th, at Gene’s Po Boys in East Austin. The candidates covered a broad range of issues.

The next day the Austin American Statesman headline was "One Candidate: I Wouldn't Seek Death Penalty". At the forum Rick Reed said that if he was elected he would not seek the death penalty under any circumstances. The other three candidates all said they are pro-death penalty.

The video below runs about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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Standing Up to the Powerful Who Do Wrong

Jordan Smith is in the midst of a series of articles in The Austin Chronicle on the race for Travis County District Attorney. This week's edition has part two in which she has a quote from Rosemary Lehmberg saying, "I question the judgment of anyone, especially a prosecutor, who discusses a pending case. That's about all I could say." Actually, what she could say is that she has no business questioning anyone on this issue because she has done the exact same thing.

Lehmberg's questioning of judgment is directed at Rick Reed for his comments to a reporter for the Texas Observer in the article "Replacing Ronnie Earle: The Race to Become the Most Important Prosecutor in Texas":

Reed said Lehmberg opposed seeking an indictment, as did several of the other prosecutors. He said he believes Lehmberg wouldn’t have indicted DeLay had she been DA at the time. Reed said he convinced Earle through a series of conversations and memos, besting the three other veteran prosecutors.
It seems hypocritical that Rosemary Lehmberg is questioning "the judgement of anyone, especially a prosecutor, who discusses a pending case", when, according to this 2005 article in the Washington Post, she herself discussed the Delay case, long before Reed ever did, to the people making a documentary called "The Big Buy":
In "The Big Buy," an assistant district attorney in Earle's office, Rosemary Lehmberg, says that Earle has pursued the DeLay case despite objections within the office. "Ronnie was the only person in maybe a group of six or seven lawyers in a room who thought we ought to go ahead and investigate," she says.
Lehmberg says in that quote that, at that time, Earle was the only one who wanted to go ahead with the investigation, meaning obviously that she did not think the investigation should go forward. Later, as we know from what Reed is quoted as saying in this Texas Observer article, that after the investigation was complete and it came time to make a decision whether to present the case to the grand jury and to seek an indictment, Lehmberg was still against going forward.

I am glad that Rick Reed was in the office when the time came for Earle to make a decision on seeking an indictment against Delay. I give Earle great credit for beginning the investigation when, as Lehmberg told the press in 2005, he was the only one who wanted to go ahead and investigate. I also give great credit to Rick Reed for his sound judgement in persuading Earle to take the case to the grand jury.

Reed wrote in this comment on The Texas Observer site that he:

was not brought into the DeLay investigation until after the decision had been made to investigate the complaint.

However, as Dave Mann reported last week in "Replacing Ronnie Earle: The Race to Become the Most Important Prosecutor in Texas," as the statute of limitations' clock was about to toll on the DeLay case, I was the only person, including Ms. Lehmberg, who pushed Mr. Earle to present the case to the grand jury.

I have no idea why Lehmberg thinks it was ok for her to discuss the Delay case with the press back in 2005, but it is not ok for Reed to have done it now.

Next year, Earle will no longer be around to make the hard decisions on whether to indict powerful people for wrongdoing even when others in the DA's office, including Lehmberg, wilt at the prospect.

We need to continue to have a Travis County DA who will stand up to the powerful, even if it means at first standing alone. Rick Reed has shown that he will not shrink when it comes time to make the tough decisions required to protect the public, which makes him the most qualified candidate in the race to become the most important prosecutor in Texas.

This post was written by Scott Cobb.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

SXSW Accepts Film on Texas Death Row Case of Innocent Man Executed: Carlos DeLuna

At the Death House Door, a film on the case of Carlos DeLuna, who was an innocent person executed by Texas, will have its world premiere at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. We will also be having our annual Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break during the week of SXSW, so we are hoping that the film will be scheduled at a time and date that the spring break participants can attend. They haven't announced what days the films will run, just which films are in the festival.

The film focuses on death house chaplain, Rev. Carroll Pickett, who spent the last day of DeLuna's life with him. During the 2006 Alternative Spring Break, we traveled to Huntsville and the students heard a talk by Rev Pickett. Carlos' sister, Mary Arredondo, attended the 2006 March to Stop Executions and delivered a letter to Governor Perry that said, "It is too late to save my brother's life, but it is not too late to take steps to prevent other innocent people from being executed. I am writing to ask that you provide the leadership to make sure that Texas never executes another innocent person.".

At the Death House Door

Director: Steve James & Peter Gilbert.
An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted. (World Premiere)

In production for The Independent Film Channel...At the Death House Door is the story of the wrongful execution of Carlos DeLuna and the Death House Chaplain, Pastor Carroll Pickett, who spent the last day of DeLuna's life with him. The feature documentary, currently in production, follows the remarkable career journey of Pickett, culminating in the story of DeLuna, a convict whose execution bothered Pickett more than any other. He firmly believed the man was innocent, and the film will track the investigative efforts of a team of Chicago Tribune reporters who have turned up evidence that strongly suggests he was. The documentary takes a very personal and intimate look at the death penalty in Texas, the first state to do lethal injection. Pickett was present for the first lethal injection in 1982. At the Death House Door is a Kartemquin Films Production in association with the Chicago Tribune.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Media Coverage of Travis County DA Candidates Forum

The room was packed for last night's forum with the candidates for Travis County District Attorney, co-hosted by Texas Moratorium Network and the ACLU-TX Central Texas chapter.

Below is the media coverage, which largely focused on the candidates responses to the death penalty question. Three of the candidates gave pro death penalty answers, but one, Rick Reed, said he would not authorize the DA's office to seek the death penalty if he is elected and would not ask for execution dates to be set for anyone from Travis County already on death row.

KUT has an audio report by Ben Philpott.

The Austin-American Statesman's article, "4 Travis candidates lay out their views on death penalty" says in part:

Three of the four candidates for Travis County district attorney told a packed room of potential voters in East Austin on Monday that, if elected, they would continue to seek the death penalty for the worst killers.

Outgoing District Attorney Ronnie Earle's assistants Gary Cobb and Rosemary Lehmberg, who are hoping to replace him, said that some people's crimes are so heinous that the public's safety is served by seeking their execution. Candidate Mindy Montford, another Earle assistant, said that because the death penalty is on the books in Texas, she must consider it if elected.

Candidate Rick Reed, who resigned from Earle's office last week, said he would not seek the death penalty under any circumstances. Reed also said he wouldn't seek death warrants for the five condemned killers already on death row from Travis County. Death warrants, issued by a trial court at a prosecutor's request when the killer's appeals have run out, set dates of execution.

"I believe it is a mistake ... to seek the death penalty," said Reed, citing his moral opposition and the cost of prosecuting such cases.
Keye, Channel 42, the local CBS affiliate, also reported on the event and has their video report online here.

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