Lawyers for Beunka Adams are appealing now to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Thursday’s execution after the previously issued stay was lifted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
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Thank you so much for being there in Texas to carry on
the struggle for justice and a more humane criminal
justice system for victims and offenders alike! In the
Beunka Adams case, two injustices especially strike
The first is that judging even by the rather flexible
standard of “meaningful appellate review” articulated
by Justice Stevens in his concurrence in _Harris v.
Pulley_, no state (or federal) appellate court has
reviewed the appropriateness of the death sentence for
Beunka Adams on an individualized basis given the
totality of the aggravating and mitigating factors,
including his age (19) at the time of the crime and
drug use. While we well know that such review in many
states, including my own California, is often “rubber
stamp,” it’s indeed egregiously striking that the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Fifth Circuit
has taken a position that it’s not even necessary to
go through the motions, so to speak!
The second is the ordeal of the surviving victims
Nikki Ansley and Candace Driver, as well as the family
of murder victim Kenneth Vandever. Suppose Texas had
replaced the death penalty with a sentence of life
without parole for capital murder, and both Adams and
his codefendant Richard Cobb had been sentenced to
LWOP in 2004. While victims have emphasized that
there’s no closure in this world after such crimes,
there would have been at least a “case closed.”
Victims indeed disagree about the death penalty as
much as others, and Ansley deserves our deepest
empathy and compassion regardless of our differences
on this issue. But replacing the death penalty with
life without parole including a requirement of labor
and restitution to a victims’ services fund would
place the focus where it belongs: on victims, healing,