The first 12-minute video below is Judge Fine speaking from the bench. The other two are shorter news reports from KTRK reporters. Click here if you are reading this, but can not see the embedded videos.

Juan Melendez, an innocent man who spent 17 years, eight months and one day on death row in Florida for a crime he did not commit will be one of the speakers at the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break, which is March 15-19, 2010 in Austin, Texas. Juan is attending as a member of Witness to Innocence. Juan will join exonerees Shujaa Graham, Curtis McCarty, Ron Keine, Derrick Jamison and Perry Cobb at alternative spring break to speak with participants about how innocent people can end up on death row. Altogether, the six exonerees attending the alternative spring break spent a total of about  65 years on death row for crimes they did not commit.

The Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break March 15-19 in Austin is designed for high school and college students interested in human rights and the death penalty. All the events are also open to people of all ages who are interested in the issue. In addition to five death row exonerees, there will be many other interesting speakers, including the national director of Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project, Bill Pelke of Journey of Hope, Susannah Sheffer of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, Brian Evans from the Washington D.C. office of Amnesty International, and Elizabeth Gilbert, the friend of Todd Willingham who first brought his case to the attention of thefire expert who later sent a report to Rick Perry in support of a stay of execution.

Participants will gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying, preparing a public rally and working with the media. During the week, students will immediately put what they learn into action during activities such as an Anti-Death Penalty Lobby Day with a rally at the Texas Capitol. There will be opportunities to write press releases, organize a press conference, speak in public, meet with legislators or their aides, and carry out a public rally at the capitol.

Please register at the website

Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break is a program of Students Against the Death Penalty. Co-organizers include Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin Chapter, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texans Against the Death Penalty,  Campus Progress, Witness to Innocence and Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing 

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