Texas Moratorium Network

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Texas Needs to Follow the Example of Maryland and Enact a Moratorium on

"The decision by Gov. Parris Glendening of Maryland today to impose a
moratorium on executions until the state completes a study of whether there
is racial bias in the use of the death penalty should be another wake-up
call to Texas," said Scott Cobb, a Board member of Texas Moratorium
Network. TMN is a state-wide non-profit organization.

"Race is not only a problem with the administration of the death penalty in
Maryland. Race is one of the major factors that need to be addressed in
Texas too. 41 percent of people on Death Row in Texas are African-American,
65 percent are people of color. An African-American is much more likely to
face the death penalty as opposed to life in prison if the victim was white.
Consider, the case of Napoleon Beazley. Napoleon was a gifted 17-year-old
African American honor student with no previous criminal record at the time
of his crime. He was sentenced to death by an all-white jury for the murder
of a white person," said Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network.

Cobb said, "A moratorium on executions will give us time to step back, and
examine the entire system of capital punishment in Texas. If we do not fix
the system, we will soon find out that we have executed an entirely innocent
person. Right now there are several people on death row in Texas with
credible claims of innocence."

"There are people on death row in Texas who even the Texas Attorney General
John Cornyn believes should be given a new sentencing trial since they were
sentenced to death in part because of testimony by a prosecution witness
that they pose a continuing threat to society because of their race. I am
talking about the case of Victor Saldano. The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals has said such racially biased testimony does not matter, but we
Texans know it does matter. We can not have a system where people are
sentenced to death because of the color of their skin and not because of the
facts of their cases," said Cobb.

According to TMN’s webpage, "The death penalty is applied with severe
racial and economic bias. We are executing juveniles and people with mental
retardation and it is much more expensive than a life without parole
sentence. Common sense demands that we stop executions and conduct a
comprehensive review of the system. The Texas Moratorium Network is calling
for an immediate moratorium on executions so that these serious questions
about the application of the death penalty can be reviewed."

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