It’s free, except for a $25 housing fee for those who need us to arrange housing for you. We will house you in a shared room with other spring breakers in either a hotel or dorm. You are responsible for your travel, food and other expenses, but the program and most of the housing costs are on us. The $25 housing fee is all you pay. Register here.
- Shujaa Graham, who spent 3 years of his life on California’s death-row for a crime he did not commit.
- Curtis McCarty, who spent 19 years of his life on Oklahoma’s death-row for a crime he did not commit.
- Ron Keine, who spent almost two years on death row in New Mexico for a crime he did not commit.
- Perry Cobb, who spent 8 years on death row in Illinois for a crime he did not commit.
- Derrick Jamison, who spent 17 years on death row in Ohio for a crime he did not commit.
- Juan Melendez spent seventeen years, eight months and one day on Florida ’s death row for a crime he did not commit.
- Bill Pelke, president of Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing and former Chairman of the Board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Bill authored a book entitled “Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing”, which details the May14, 1985 murder of his grandmother Ruth Pelke, a Bible teacher, by four teenage girls. He shares his story of forgiveness and healing, and how he came to realize that he did not need to see someone else die in order to heal from his grandmother’s death. He also helps organize Journey tours nationally and abroad. Bill has traveled to over forty states and ten countries with the Journey of Hope and has told his story over 5,000 times.
The Galveston County Daily News is renewing its call for a moratorium on executions. What caused them to write again today about the need for a moratorium is because of the Houston judge who last week ruled that the death penalty process used in Texas is unconstitutional because innocent people can be executed. This is not the first time they have called for a moratorium.
Judge’s critics not arguing right facts
By Heber Taylor
The Daily NewsPublished March 9, 2010
Since State District Judge Kevin Fine of Houston declared the death penalty unconstitutional, critics have pointed out that he:
A. Is a Democrat.
B. Is a recovering alcoholic.
C. Is a former cocaine user.
D. Has a lot of tattoos.
They have not provided a coherent defense of the death penalty as it is administered in Texas.
If you want to read some really brutal criticism of Texas’ death penalty, forget about Judge Fine for a minute. Take a look at the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, most of whom were appointed by conservative presidents. For the past decade, they’ve had a lot to say about Texas.
The court threw out one conviction, not because it doubted the guilt of the convicted murderer, Thomas Miller-El, but because it found that, for decades, prosecutors in Dallas County “had followed a specific policy of systematically excluding blacks from juries.” That’s a decadeslong problem of procedure that poisoned countless cases. It’s not something that can be covered by an excuse.
When the Supreme Court began questioning the practice of executing people for crimes they committed before the age of 18, they looked at Texas, which had 26 such people on death row.
When the Supreme Court expressed qualms about executing people who are mentally retarded, it looked at Texas.
The U.S. Supreme Court is not obsessed with Texas. The justices were just looking at the most obvious problems.
Here are just three:
• The possibility of error is great. The problems Texas has had with some of its crime labs are notorious. You’d have to be dense not to wonder about the evidence that has been presented to juries. The state has released people who have spent years in prison after DNA confirmed their innocence.
• There are still too many questions about racial bias.
• Too often the question of who lives or dies has more to do with money than with justice. Those who can afford to pay for a near miraculous defense often get one. Meanwhile, poor defendants often get poor representation.
For the past decade, The Daily News has asked the governor to declare a moratorium on the death penalty and to ask the Legislature to study the problems and address them.
We think real leaders would find that an interesting, challenging proposal — a more challenging topic than Judge Fine’s tattoos.
The young nephews of an American death row inmate started Kids Against the Death Penalty and recently traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to attend and speak at the 4th World Congress Against the Death Penalty.
Gavin, Nick and Nathan Been (12, 13 and 15) are just like any American teenagers – teasing their mom Terri about growing taller than her and asking her to drive them around to meet up with their friends.
Except their uncle Jeff Wood is on Texas death row convicted under the Law of Parties even though he did not kill anyone.
On March 4th, the CCA affirmed the March 24th date for Hank Skinner’s execution, or more exactly it states it doesn’t have jurisdiction to overrule the Judge’s order.
Please help Hank get the DNA testing. I have added a list of newspapers and journalists to whom you can copy your letter to the DA, below:
Hank sent a 5-page letter to the Gray County D.A. Lynn Switzer with a number of exhibits, which was received by her office on January 27th 2010.
These documents can be downloaded in the “legal documents” section – “DNA Issue” paragraph on the website.
Please take the time to read the letter, the exhibits document all the points and statements made by Hank in his letter.
As you will understand from his letter, Hank is asking the D.A. to put the execution warrant on hold, to grant him a 120-day reprieve and order the DNA testing. It is important to support him in this vital attempt. Of course the purpose is NOT to write to the D.A. and attack her for what she hasn’t done or should have done. What needs to be emphasized is that justice calls for the truth and the untested evidence is crucial to prove his innocence. Her position as D.A. is to ensure that justice is served and not to allow the execution of an innocent man when so many issues remain unresolved just a few weeks from his execution date.
You can send your letters with reference “Hank Skinner – Execution Date March 24, 2010” to:
Ms. Lynn Switzer
Gray County Courthouse
Pampa TX 79065
For more impact, you may consider copying your letter to a local media of your choice and also to enclose a copy of Hank’s letter as well. If you do so, make sure you include the information after your signature; ie: cc. Houston Chronicle (whathever newpaper you choose or the journalist’s name). Here is a non-exhaustive short list of newspapers and/or journalists you can cc your letter to:
The Pampa news
PO Box 2198
Pampa TX 79066
The Amarillo Globe news
Letters to the Editor
PO Box 2091
Amarillo TX 79166
Fax 1 806 345 3400
The Houston Chronicle
Roma Khanna – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Austin American-Statesman
Chuck Lindell – email@example.com
Steven Kreytak – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dallas Morning News
Emily Ramshaw – email@example.com
Editor Michael Grabell – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Texas Tribune
Brandi Grissom – email@example.com
CBS News – 60 minutes
The Chicago Tribune
Steve Mills – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Columbus Dispatch
Jeff Dutton – email@example.com
Here are some points you can raise:
– All of the state’s chief investigators and medical examiner on the case testified in pre-trial and trial that they personally collected the evidence in question that we are seeking to test, that they believe evidence would conclusively show who killed Twila, Scooter and Randy. So why won’t they allow it to be tested?
– Both the State’s star witnesses (Andrea Reed & Howard Mitchell) have testified that they believe Hank to be innocent.
– All three of the previous D.A.s have publicly stated that they believe the evidence needs to be tested.
– Article 2.01 of the TX code of criminal procedure compels the D.A. to test the evidence or, allow the deffense to test it.
– The D.A. has admitted in Ch 64 DNA pleadings that the evidence is in a condition making testing possible, that the chain of custody has been maintained, that the evidence is capable of providing a probative result and idendity is an issue in Hank’s case.
– Texas should not execute a man it does not know for a fact to be guilty. After Andrea Reed’s recantation, according to the state own’s experts, the remaining evidence does nothing to prove guilt at all. The A.G has stated through his spokesman that it would violate the constitution to murder someone who is innocent – that has got to apply equally to someone they do not know for a fact to be guilty.
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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