Monday night, the Austin Human Rights Commission unanimously approved a resolution brought to them by Texas Moratorium Network calling for a moratorium on executions and the creation of a Capital Punishment Study Commission. The resolution gathered momentum after the recent news that the fire in the case of Todd Willingham was not arson, meaning Texas executed an innocent person. The resolution urges the full Austin City Council to pass a similar resolution.

We would like to thank the members of the Austin Human Rights Commission for passing the resolution.

One of the reasons the Commission chose to take a stand on this issue is that local governments can face lawsuits from people who are wrongfully convicted. For instance, the City of Austin had to settle separate lawsuits totaling more than $14 million in 2003 filed by Richard Danziger and Christopher Ochoa. They are two innocent men who spent 12 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted for a 1988 Austin murder they did not commit.

The Travis County Commissioners Court and the El Paso County Commissioners Court have also passed resolutions calling for a moratorium. In total, 151 local governments across the nation have passed moratorium resolutions.

Here is a link to an article in The Daily Texan about the resolution’s approval.

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