Thursday, April 30, 2009

Urgent Action to Stop Today's Execution of Person Claiming Mental Retardation: Derrick Johnson

Last night at around 11 PM, we received a call from one of our sources at the Texas capitol regarding the person set for execution TODAY, April 30, in Texas. We were told that the lawyer for Derrick Johnson presented a report by a doctor to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles that Johnson has mental retardation, but the BPP voted to deny him a stay of execution.

Johnson's lawyer is taking the request for a stay to federal court, but in the meantime we have been asked to urge people to call Rissie Owens, chair of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and urge her to hold another vote on Johnson's case and issue a 180 day stay of execution to determine whether Johnson has mental retardation.

International and US law prohibits the execution of people with mental retardation. Johnson is scheduled to be executed TODAY. Our source at the capitol says that several legislators have also spoken with Risse Owens urging her to allow the board to vote again and issue a stay of execution, including State Rep. Terri Hodge, Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Rep. Lon Burnam.

Rissie Owens' Phone Number in Austin at the BPP is (512) 406-5852

Call Governor Perry and urge him to issue a stay of execution so that Johnson's mental retardation claim can be evaluated. Gov Perry's phone number is 512-463-1782.

At this point, making phone calls is the most effective way to get the message to Owens and Perry.

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