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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fundraising Campaign to Help Anthony Graves After His Exoneration from Texas Death Row

On October 27, Anthony Graves became the 12th person exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sent to Texas death row. Anthony is a completely innocent man who spent a total of 18 years locked up for a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with. Twelve of those years were spent on Texas death row in a tiny cell having his food shoved through a small slit in the door. The other years were spent in jail awaiting retrial and facing the prospect of again being sentenced to death. Anthony is now back in the loving embrace of his family and friends and soon he will enjoy his first Thanksgiving holiday as a free man in 18 years.

Many amazing people were responsible for working to prove that Anthony Graves was innocent and to get him out of prison. The Houston Chronicle called them "an army of believers, a group of lawyers and students who fought to prove his innocence". Those amazing people include lawyers and students at the Texas Innocence Network, which was founded by University of Houston law professor David Dow; defense lawyers Katherine Scardino and Jimmy Phillips; University of St. Thomas journalism professor Nicole Casarez and her students; and David Mullen and Jeff Blackburn with the Innocence Project of Texas. Of course Anthony's family and Anthony himself also fought to prove his innocence. Journalists also played a major role in bringing attention to the plight of an innocent person on Texas death row, including Pamela Coloff at Texas Monthly in her article "Innocence Lost". We all owe those lawyers, students and journalists a debt of gratitude for preventing another innocent person from being executed in Texas.

Now that he is free, read on to see how you can help Anthony Graves now that he has been released.

Upon his release, the new prosecutors handling Anthony's case declared him innocent, dropped all charges and accused the prosecutor who had first convicted him of prosecutorial misconduct that was “the worst I’ve ever seen,” according to new prosecutor Kelly Siegler. “Charles Sebesta handled this case in a way that could best be described as a criminal justice system’s nightmare,” Siegler declared. “It’s a travesty, what happened in Anthony Graves’ trial.”

Asked if Sebesta should face criminal prosecution for his actions, Siegler said, “Well, the statute of limitations has run on all that.” She also said Parham’s office has not discussed whether a complaint to the State Bar of Texas is appropriate.

The Dallas Morning News reports that while the statute of limitations on prosecutorial misconduct has expired, some defense attorneys are suggesting the proseuctor be charged with attempted murder. The idea may seem to be a stretch but Katherine Scardino, one of Graves' attorneys noted that Sebesta tried to have Graves executed. Graves says he doesn't have time to be bitter but Scardino noted, "There's no statute of limitations for murder".

Texas Moratorium Network would like to help Anthony transition to his new life. We have spoken to one of his attorneys and she expects a legal fight before Anthony claims any compensation from Texas for his years of wrongful conviction. In fact, it will likely take quite a while before he receives any money from the State. Upon his release on October 27, he was only given a few hundred dollars.

We asked his lawyer how we could help. She told us that he is in need of the basics of life, including new clothes, pocket money, and all the other normal things that a person would need whose nightmarish false conviction at the hands of the state has just ended. He needs to get on with his life and with your help we can give him a little help making the adjustment to freedom.

So, we would like to ask everyone to help us help Anthony Graves. We would like to be able to raise and send him $1,000 before Thanksgiving. If we raise more, then that would be even more helpful for him. If you would like to help, you can send a donation and we will pass it along to Anthony. $1,000 is not much in the great scheme of things, but it will help Anthony at a time when he could really use it.

In 2004, after Ernest Willis was exonerated and released from Texas death row, Texas Moratorium Network asked our supporters to help Ernest. We were able to raise $1,000 in a short time and send it to Ernest in 2004. We received the below message from Ernest Willis after he received our check for $1,000 in 2004.

"Hello, I do appreciate the donations & your time & help in getting the donations. Yes, the state of Texas gave me $100.00 when I was released & that was all. I am doing okay since my release & am very happy to be free. I have not had any problems adjusting to the life out here.
Again -I do appreciate the help, it is greatly appreciated as I do need it".

Thank You,
Ernest Willis

Now, it is time to help another innocent person just released from Texas Death Row.

If you would like to donate to help Anthony Graves, you can make a donation to TMN using a credit card by clicking here.




Or you can send a check to:

Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731

Please note on your check that your donation is for Anthony Graves. If you want to include a short note to Anthony, we will deliver your note along with the check we give him with all the donations. We want to give him the donations before Thanksgiving, but if we receive any donations for him after Thanksgiving, we will send him those donations too.

Donations to Texas Moratorium Network are not tax deductible because our primary mission is to advocate to the Texas Legislature to stop executions.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help Anthony, you can make a donation to the 501 (c) (3) organization Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center.


For more on the case of Anthony Graves, here are some links to news articles about him:




"Editorial: Death-row case underscores fallibility", Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, October 28, 2010.
"Innocence Lost" by Pamela Coloff, Texas Monthly, October 2010.


Rick Perry says that the Graves case is an example of the system working, but we know that it is an example of a fundamentally flawed system that has repeatedly sentenced innocent people to death and allowed some of them to be killed by the State of Texas while asserting their innocence with their last breaths, including Todd Willingham. Starting in January, TMN will be spending a lot of time at the Texas Legislature advocating for a moratorium on executions and other reforms, including finding a way to hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct leading to wrongful convictions.

If you are unable to afford a donation to Anthony right now, please keep him and his family in your thoughts, especially when you gather your family around the table on Thanksgiving Day.
Thank you,

Your friends at Texas Moratorium Network

Below is a photo of a typical cell on Texas death row. Anthony Graves lived in such a cell even though he was an innocent person.


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