Below is a report by Gloria Rubac on the 2013 Statewide Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty, which was held on March 13.

                             State Rep Harold Dutton opens our press conference for the 2013 Lobby Day with TMN’s Scott Cobb

Death Penalty abolitionists from around Texas gathered Wednesday at the Texas Capitol for their bi-annual Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty and Day of Innocence. Activists and death row families visited every legislator on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Senate Criminal Justice Committee as well as their own senators and representatives.

The anachronistic and very unfair Law of Parties bills were very well received by most and there could be a hearing next Tuesday on those bills. They would change Texas law so that a person could not be executed if arrested under the Law of Parties if they were not the shooter. Right now in Texas dozens of people sit on death row who killed NO ONE!

Particularly powerful presentations were provided by Sylvia Garza from the Rio grand Valley. Her son Robert was not even at the crime scene and killed no one. Yet Bobby has been on death row for ten years and his appeal was turned down by the US Supreme Court in February. He could receive an execution date at any moment.

Legislators also paid rapt attention to information by Clarence Brandley who spent ten years on death row before he was finally freed. He has never received the compensation he deserves for his years of terror in Huntsville, coming within days of execution two times.

The press conference was opened with a moving statement by State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston who said he was ridiculed when he first introduced his bill to abolish the death penalty over a decade ago. “My father told me to always stand up for what was right, so when I was asked Are you crazy? for proposing Texas end executions, it didn’t bother me because I was doing what is right.”

Participating organizations included Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty and Kids Against the Death Penalty.

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