Posts by: "Texas Moratorium Network"

Glendening Declares Death Penalty Moratorium
By Tom Stuckey
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, May 9, 2002; 12:45 PM

ANNAPOLIS – – Gov. Parris Glendening imposed a moratorium Thursday on executions in Maryland until the state completes a study of whether there is racial bias in the use of the death penalty.

Glendening issued a stay on the execution of Wesley Eugene Baker, who was scheduled to die by injection sometime next week, and said he would stay any other executions that come before him. Only one other state that has capital punishment, Illinois, has imposed a similar moratorium.

Baker is one of 13 men – nine of them black – awaiting execution in Maryland. Glendening, who supports the death penalty for especially heinous crimes, had been under pressure to halt executions until he receives a study that is due to be completed in September by a researcher at the University of Maryland.

Glendening said he would not lift the moratorium until the study is completed and reviewed by the state legislature, which he estimated would be in about a year. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who also supports the death penalty in limited cases, asked Glendening last week to impose a moratorium until he receives the study the governor requested two years ago.

Townsend said at the time that it would be “tough to have a report come out and say this wasn’t fair knowing that while the report was going on, that people were executed.” She recently announced she is running to succeed Glendening, who cannot seek a third term. Illinois Gov. George Ryan declared the nation’s first moratorium in 2000. Last month, a commission appointed by Ryan recommended 85 reforms to reduce the possibility of wrongful convictions. Some of the reforms included cutting the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty and videotaping police interrogations.

Baker was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the 1991 murder of Jane Tyson, who was shot in the parking lot of a Baltimore County shopping center, where she had taken her 4-year-old granddaughter and 6-year-old grandson shopping for tennis shoes. Baker does not deny being present when Tyson was killed, but his attorneys say there is not enough evidence to show he fired the gun.
(c) 2002 The Associated Press

Thomas H. Kimbell, Jr., became the 101st former death row inmate to be cleared of charges and freed since 1973. Kimbell had been convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of four members of a family in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania in 1994. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2000 because evidence which might have thrown doubt on his guilt was not admitted at trial. Kimbell was acquitted of all charges at his re-trial on May 3. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/4/02). Kimbell is the 3rd former death row inmate to be freed this year and the 4th person in Pennsylvania since the death penalty was reinstated.

May 2002 Newsletter

1) Moratorium declared in Maryland.
2) Call for clemency for Napolean Beazley.
3) A word of thanks.

Texas Moratorium Network
14804 Moonseed Cove
Austin, TX 78728
512-302-6715
www.texasmoratorium.org

Greetings moratorium supporters!

GREAT NEWS!

Today (Thursday May 9) Maryland Governor Parris Glendening declared a moratorium on executions in his state. This halt to executions will remain in effect until a University of Maryland study of racial bias is released and reviewed by the General Assembly. This comes after years of persistent grass-roots efforts in and outside of the Maryland General Assembly. Last year the Maryland House passed a moratorium bill, and only a filibuster in the Maryland Senate prevented the bill from reaching the Governor’s desk. After this setback, activists redoubled their efforts, lobbying their legislators and gathering moratorium resolutions. Today their hard work has been rewarded. Certainly, if the State of Maryland has concluded that a halt to executions is necessary, a halt to executions in Texas is absolutely imperative!

HERE IN TEXAS

One the major reasons we need a moratorium in Texas is that we continue to execute juvenile offenders (people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime). In the last decade, the handful of nations that still executed juvenile offenders began to curtail the practice, so that now the United States stands virtually alone in continuing this practice. Not unrelated to this is the fact that the U.S. is also the only nation in the world (except Somalia which has no functioning government) not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Within the U.S. Texas is one of only three states that has executed juvenile offenders in recent years. And on May 28, Texas is scheduled to execute Napoleon Beazley.

Napoleon Beazley was a gifted 17-year-old African American honor student with no previous criminal record at the time of the crime, and he was sentenced to death in by an all-white jury for the murder of the father of a prominent Federal judge. There are many problems with his case, beyond the fact that he is a juvenile offender; his case in fact illustrates much of what is wrong with the Texas death penalty, and why we need a moratorium.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

First, get more information. Go to:
http://www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/beazley.html

Second, send a free fax to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Go to our website at: 
http://www.texasmoratorium.org/

Third, if you live in Abilene, Amarillo, Angleton, Austin, Gatesville, Huntsville, Palestine, or San Antonio, you can call or visit your local Board of Pardons and Paroles office. To get contact information, go to: http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/bpp/boardm.html. Call, fax, or, better yet, visit them and urge them to recommend to Governor Perry that he grant clemency for Napoleon Beazley.

Fourth, if you live in any of the above cities, or anywhere else in Texas, get yourself on talk radio. It’s easy, it only takes a few minutes, and it can have an enormous impact. If you are interested in doing this, contact Eva Owens at ProTex in Austin: 512-441-8123, , and she will provide whatever guidance or assistance you need.

Fifth, postcards addressed to the Board of Pardons and Paroles are also available from Eva. If you know of an event that is happening real soon, or a mailing that is going out real real soon, and you feel you can distribute a large number of these cards to people who will sign them and mail them right away, please let Eva know.

Sixth, as always, contact your legislators. Go to:
http://www.texasmoratorium.org/mod.php?mod=userpage&menu=12&page_id=17
and enter your zipcode; from here you can once again send a free fax to each of your legislators. Use any or all of the talking points from the free fax action above. Also, remind your legislators that in 2001 the Texas House passed a bill to end the execution of juvenile offenders (this bill ran out of time in the Senate), and urge them to support any and all such legislation in 2003. Also, urge them, in light of the many shortcomings evident in Napoleon Beazley’s case, to support a moratorium on executions in 2003.

A WORD OF THANKS

We appreciate all the hard work that you all have done on this issue in the past, and we are looking forward to working with you all during the 2003 legislative session. For now, it is our hope that every one of the 2000 or so people on this mailing list can take at least some of the above actions. Despite the fact that our capital punishment system remains massively flawed, the pace of executions in Texas is increasing at an alarming rate; it is more important than ever for us to stand up and be counted. And the success in Maryland should give us hope. As in Maryland, the public in Texas clearly is no longer enthralled with the death penalty. Unfortunately, our politicians still are — but working together, we can and will make sure our politicians get the message. We can stop the execution of Napoleon Beazley on May 28, and, in 2003, we can stop all executions in Texas.

Moratorium Now!

Napoleon was 17 at the time of the crime and sentencing. The United States, and Texas specifically, continues to execute juvenile offenders even though the entire industrialized west has condmened and rescinded the practice. Napoleon won a stay of execution in August of last year, and we need to work for another stay and a commutation. His date has been set for May 28th 2002. The CEDP has a couple of events scheduled, and we encourage everyone to get involved.

FIGHT FOR NAPOLEON’S LIFE!

Tuesday, May 14th at 7:30pm. Learn about Napoleon’s
case and what we can do to save him. Location:
Carver Library (1161 Angelina St.)

Tuesday, May 21st at 5:30pm. RALLY TO SAVE NAPOLEON!!
Location: Governor’s Mansion (11th and Lavaca).

Regular CEDP Organizing meeting: Sunday, May 5 at 5pm.
Location: Ruby’s BBQ (29th and Guadelupe)


1) A Chance to Elect a Republican Who Opposes Capital Punishment.
2) The Race for State Representative in District 51 in Austin.
3) The Race for State Senator in District 20.
4) List of Upcoming Scheduled Executions
5) Death Row Ten Tour: Live From Death Row!
6) March Against the Death Penalty in San Antonio

Greetings moratorium supporters!

1) A Chance to Elect a Republican who Opposes Capital Punishment.

The moratorium movement has before it an historic opportunity to elect a
Republican supporter to the Texas Legislature.

On April 9, there will be a runoff election between two Republicans for the
District 28 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. As there are no
Democratic candidates running for the seat, the winner of the runoff will
win the election. This district includes all of Waller and Wharton counties
and 19 percent of Fort Bend County.

One of the candidates is Gary Gates. Gary, whose father was murdered when
he was 18, opposes the death penalty.

In addition, he supports a moratorium on executions, as well as legislation
banning executions of juvenile offenders and people with mental retardation.

According to his reply to a survey distributed by Texas Moratorium
Network, if elected, Mr. Gates would vote for a moratorium on executions,
for a ban on executions of persons with mental retardation and for a ban on
executions of juveniles.

Mr. Gates understands this issue better than most people. He has a daughter
with severe mental retardation and has adopted several children who were
considered “unadoptable” because of various personality and behavioral
problems stemming from abuse and neglect. Because he has proven it with his
own children, Mr. Gates believes that most children can be managed so that
they live productive lives.

Mr. Gates and his wife of 20 years, Melissa, have 13 children. They adopted
11 children–white, African-American, and Hispanic–several from a broken
foster care system. They are well acquainted with the social, educational,
and psychological issues that families encounter.

Mr. Gates’s presence in the legislature could have a huge impact for our
movement — if he is elected. He could help us reach across party lines and
make this a truly bi-partisan effort. In the last session of the
Legislature, only one Republican voted in favor of a moratorium on
executions. About 60 Democrats voted for the moratorium either on the floor
or in committee, including Senator Ken Armbrister, the senator representing
Gary’s area. We believe having Gary in the legislature could dramatically
affect the terms of the debate on the death penalty in Texas.

And with our help, Mr. Gates has a good chance to win!

Consider the following: In a five-way primary, Mr. Gates came in second (28
percent) to the top vote-getter, who got only 29 percent. Anyone who did not
vote in the Democratic primary is eligible to vote in the Republican runoff.

Even if you do not consider yourself Republican, we are asking you to
cross over and vote for Gary in this Republican runoff. Only about 10
percent of the district voted on Primary Election Day, so turning out
moratorium supporters for the runoff will have an enormous impact.

In the 2000 Presidential Election, 36 percent of the district voted
Democratic. Remember, there is no Democrat running in Gary’s race. For
Democrats, the only choice to have an impact on who represents District 28
is to vote for Gary Gates in the Republican runoff. For Republicans, the
best choice is clearly Gary Gates.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1) If you or someone you know lives in District 28 (it includes all of
Wharton and Waller Counties and 19% of Fort Bend County –a large area to
the west of Houston) please tell them of this opportunity and urge them to
vote for Gary Gates on April 9.

2) Volunteer to work a phone bank or walk precincts sometime before the
primary, probably the weekend of April 6-7 or on election day April 9th.
You can contact the Gary Gates campaign at 281-232-3497.

3) Pass this message on to opponents of the death penalty, and supporters of
a moratorium.

4) Make a contribution to Mr. Gates’s campaign fund. The address is:

“Friends of Gary Gates for State Representative”
2205 Ave. I Suite 121 Rosenberg, TX 77471

Donations to the Gary Gates Campaign are not tax-deductible.

Again, this is a crucial opportunity. With our support, Gary Gates will
help us roll back the death penalty in Texas.

There are a couple of other runoffs that involve people who either answered
our survey favorably or who have voted for a moratorium in the last session
of the Legislature.

2) The Race for State Representative in District 51 in Austin.

In the State Representative District 51 race in Austin, Eddie Rodriguez
replied to our survey by saying he supports a moratorium on executions and a
commission to study the death penalty, supports banning executions of people
with mental retardation, supports banning executions of juvenile offenders
and supports giving juries the option of Life Without Parole as an
alternative to the death penalty. He commented, “I do not believe in the
death penalty for anyone. I would support a complete moratorium.”

His opponent did not reply to our survey, so we can not say for sure what
her postitions are. We’ve heard “here and there” that she also supports our
issues, but it would have been nice if she had answered our survey.

3) The Race for State Senator in District 20.

House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa,
D-McAllen, is running for State Senator in District 20, which runs from the
Corpus Christi area to the Valley. Chairman Hinojosa was one of the
strongest
advocates for reforming Texas death penalty laws last session. He chaired
the House committee that favorably reported moratorium proposals and he
voted for the moratorium. He sponsored legislation to ban executions of
persons
with mental retardation.

He was the principal House sponsor of the Texas Fair Defense Act,
establishing uniform state-wide standards for appointment and compensation
of defense counsel representing indigent persons accused of crime, including
capital cases. He sponsored legislation to give juries the additional
sentencing
option of Life Without Parole in capital cases. He was the principal House
sponsor of the new law providing for post-conviction access to DNA testing.

Hinojosa’s opponent did not answer our survey. She also did not reply to our
emails or phone messages.

So, please get out on April 9 and support the candidates who support us!

4) Scheduled Upcoming Executions, according to the TDCJ, changes are
possible.

04/10/2002 Jose Santellan, Sr.
04/11/2002 William Burns
04/18/2002 Gerald Casey
04/30/2002 Rodolfo Hernandez
05/01/2002 Curtis Moore

5) Death Row Ten Tour: Live From Death Row!

The Death Row Ten are the men of Illinois who were tortured into false
confessions by corrupt members of the Chicago police department led
by Jon Burge, who was fired from the Chicago police department on
February 10, 1993, for torture. These confessions sentenced them to the
death penalty. Come listen to David Bates, a freed torture victim, Marlene
Martin of the National Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and local
speakers regarding the Yogurt Shop case and others. Most importantly,
there will be a live call-in from a Death Row 10 member currently on
Death Row in Illinois.

Date and Time: Saturday April 13–5:00pm.
Location: University of Texas at Austin Campus
CMA room 2.320 (corner of Whitis and 26th Streets)
Organized by Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Austin Chapter

6) The St. Mary’s University Student Chapter of Amnesty International USA,
with the co-sponsorship of the Esperanza Center, St. Mary’s Chapter of
LULAC, and Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation will hold a march at
3 p.m. April 14th to demand that the Texas Criminal Justice system review
the case of Napoleon Beazley, the to support a moratorium on the
executions, and to mourn the loss of all human beings due to murder – state
sanctioned or otherwise.

The march will begin in front of the Alamo and end at San Fernando
Cathedral, where speakers will address the racial discrepancies and classis
inconsistencies of capital punishment, the moral dilemmas it raises, and
the particular case of Napolean Beazley. Jeanette Popp, whose daughter was
murdered and who testified for a moratorium in front of the state
legislature will be just one of four speakers including: Dave Atwood
(founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty), Tom Keene
(coordinator for the Death Penalty subcommittee of justice and peace
commission of Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio), and Roger Barnes (a UIW
professor and expert on the Death Penalty).

For more information, contact Joseph Triglio at 210-256-6985, or
. If you can be in the San Antonio area on Sunday April
14, please try to attend this important gathering.

Thank you for your continued support and activism! Because of you, we are
making great progress in the movement to establish a moratorium on
executions!

Best Regards,

Scott Cobb
Texas Moratorium Network

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