Upcoming Executions
Click for a list of upcoming scheduled executions in Texas.
Innocence
The death penalty puts innocent people at risk of execution.
Todd Willingham
Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed under Governor Rick Perry on February 17, 2004.

The 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty will be Saturday November 3, 2012 at 2 PM in Austin, Texas at the Capitol.

Thank you to Patricia Turner for designing this poster for the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

2012_MarchtoAbolishDeathPenaltyLayered

Each autumn since 2000, people from all walks of life and all parts of Texas, the U.S. and other countries have taken a day out of the year and gathered in Austin to raise their voices together and loudly express their opposition to the death penalty. The annual march is a coming together of activists, family members of those on death row, family members of murder victims who oppose the death penalty, community leaders, exonerated and innocent death row survivors and all those calling for repeal of the death penalty.

The annual march is organized as a joint project by several Texas anti-death penalty organizations and their friends, including Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence, Kids Against the Death Penalty, International Socialist Organization, the Texas Civil Rights Project, The Austin Chronicle, NOKOA, Gray Panthers, Democrats for Life, and Texas Democrats Against the Death Penalty.

If you would like to list your business or organization as a sponsor of the march, please contact us.

Texas is nearing 500 executions since 1982. Rick Perry is nearing 250 executions since he became governor.

Before his execution, Todd Willingham told his parents, “Please don’t ever stop fighting to vindicate me.”

Before his execution, Troy Davis told his supporters in a letter, “There are so many more Troy Davises. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”

On November 3, 2012 at 2 PM in Austin, you can join the fight for justice by attending the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Now is the time to join the fight to end the death penalty! More and more people are concluding that the death penalty is a punishment that Texas can do without.

ANTHONY HAYNES IS SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED ON OCT. 18.

Age 19 + No Prior Record + Sloppy Lawyers = Death Sentence

By Brian Evans, blog, Amnesty International USA:

Anthony Haynes, a 19-year-old at the time of the crime with no prior criminal history, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on October 18.

As noted in this space previously, there were serious issues of racial bias in his case (African American defendant, 11 white jurors, judge cleaning guns during jury selection). There were also bad lawyersand a possibly coerced confession. Despite this, the state of Texas is prepared to put this man to death for a crime he committed as a teenager under the influence of crystal meth.

Two days before Haynes fatally shot Kent Kincaid, an off-duty police officer, a friend of the family had given him crystal meth. It was Haynes’ first experience with the drug. The same friend wrote in a sworn statement that during those two days Haynes began “talking crazy,” saying he had been unable to sleep for days and thought someone was following him. When Sergeant Kincaid approached Haynes’ car, Haynes’ drug-induced paranoia really kicked in – he believed he would be dragged from the car. He shot and killed Officer Kincaid.

A doctor who specializes in psychiatry concluded in 2005 that Haynes’ actions that night were inconsistent with previous behavior and his diminished capacity was due to his first-time use of meth. The jury never heard that Haynes had used crystal meth prior to the shooting.

Sloppy Lawyers

Predicting “future dangerousness” is a prerequisite for Texas death sentences, and Anthony Haynes’ lawyer failed to offer a strong challenge to the state’s weak case for his future dangerousness.  Without the violence inducing effects of meth, there was little to suggest Haynes would be an ongoing threat.

Haynes has no previous criminal record. More than 3 dozen friends and family offered to testify about Haynes’ good character and against the claim that Haynes would be a future threat to society. Yet Haynes’ defense lawyer refused most offers of testimony and failed to even interview many family members.

Haynes’ inadequate representation continued into his habeas corpus appeal. His court appointed habeas lawyer didn’t investigate the failures of his trial lawyer. In a 2006 article in the Austin American-Statesman, the habeas attorney was cited as one of the “sloppy lawyers failing clients on death row”, due to a habit of submitting habeas corpus petitions that were “copied largely verbatim” from the prisoner’s previous appeal.

A Coerced Confession?

For Texas to obtain the death penalty in this case, the prosecution also had to prove that Haynes knew Sergeant Kincaid was a police officer at the time of the shooting. Kincaid was off-duty the day of the shooting and was dressed in plain clothes, driving his personal car. In his initial statement, for which he waived his right to have a lawyer present, Haynes confessed to the shooting and to knowing that Kincaid was a police officer.

Haynes has since maintained that this confession was coerced, and that he did not know Kincaid was an officer. During and before his interrogation, Haynes was not allowed to use the bathroom, eat or rest, and was still feeling the effects of his meth use. As we have all seen recently, it doesn’t always take much to coerce a false confession. Despite Haynes’ allegation that the confession was coerced, the judge allowed it to be used as evidence that led to his being sentenced to death in 1999.

Stop this execution

Anthony Haynes should be granted a new sentencing hearing so that the mountains of unheard mitigating evidence can finally be presented. At the least, he should be granted clemency and have his sentence commuted.  Executing Anthony Haynes after such a dubious legal process would be a fundamental injustice.

Derrick Jamison embraces new exoneree Damon Thibodeaux.

Derrick Jamison, an innocent man who spent 17 years on death row in Ohio, will be a special guest at the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on November 3, 2012 at the Texas Capitol in Austin at 2 PM. He is a member of Witness to Innocence.

Derrick Jamison was one of four exonerated death-row inmates ( along with Ray Krone, Shujaa Graham and Ron Keine) who went to Santiago, Spain to film a TV commercial featuring Coca-Cola’s sports drink Aquarius. They filmed for 6 days, sometimes for 18 hrs a day for these few seconds of air time. Coca-Cola says that their message reached hundreds of millions of people in Spain, Central, and South America. Three of the exonerees featured in the commercial will now be at the 11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 30 at 2 PM at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

Click here to watch the 1 minute 31 second version on YouTube.

More about Derrick Jamison:

When James Suggs, an eyewitness to the robbery and murder of a Cincinnati bartender, was shown photo arrays of suspects by police, he identified two men—but neither of them was Derrick Jamison. There were also multiple contradictions between physical descriptions of the perpetrators given by witnesses and Derrick’s actual appearance. This information was withheld from Jamison’s trial, and as a result, an innocent man spent nearly 20 years on Ohio’s death row for a crime he did not commit.

In February 2005, Ohio Common Pleas Judge Richard Niehaus dismissed all charges against Derrick after his conviction was overturned three years earlier. Jamison was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 based largely on the testimony of Charles Howell, a co-defendant whose own sentence was reduced in exchange for testimony against Derrick.
Statements were withheld that contradicted Howell’s testimony, undermined the prosecution’s explanation for the death, and ultimately would have incriminated other suspects for the murder. Two federal courts ruled that the prosecution’s actions denied Derrick a fair trial.

Today, Derrick is fully aware of the inequality of the criminal justice system. “There is a double standard when it comes to justice in our judicial system, especially with wrongful conviction,” he says. “If you are a minority or a low-income citizen, the pursuit of justice can be an elusive one. But if you are rich it happens overnight.”

Although his resentment towards the system is subsiding, Derrick continues to express anger about how the 17 years he spent on death row impacted his life and the lives of his family members. At the time of sentencing, he was incredibly troubled because of his unjust imprisonment. “I was very angry, furious and distraught. . . all the emotions that stir up anguish. It made me feel it was over for me. Not only did that sentence affect me, it was the demise of my mother and father.”

Derrick expresses daily gratitude for his release. “In the 21 years I experienced ‘dead man walking’ I never had anything to smile about,” he says, “but on that day, I felt the smile come from within my heart. The sun shone down on me that day.”

The annual march is organized by several Texas and national anti-death penalty organizations, including Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center, Kids Against the Death Penalty, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Amnesty International at the University of Texas, S.H.A.P.E Community Center, the Journey of Hope … from Violence to Healing, and Witness to Innocence.

 

Below is Gloria Rubac’s report with her photos on the execution of Cleve “Sarge” Foster that she sent out in an email.
Tonight the state of Texas murdered a man who was my friend and a friend to so many all over the country and the world. Cleve “Sarge” Foster was a son to Mary, a father to Michael, a grandfather to Yuri, a father-in-law to Rowan and brother to Susie and a number of siblings. He was innocent but was convicted under Texas’ horrible Law of Parties. Texas is the only state who executes a person they know did not kill anyone. He was tried with Sheldon Ward who admitted that sarge had nothing to do with the murder.
Tonight Gov. Rick Perry put another notch on his belt of executions — number 247 –more than any governor in the history of the United States. And this State of Texas is now  responsible for 486 executions, with 11 more already scheduled.
At the Hospitality House, a place in Huntsville run by a bunch of very un-Christian Christians, Sarge’s family and friends gathered before the execution. They were talking with Sarge when Joanne and I arrived around 4:30.
Sarge was on the speakerphone and was talking with everyone. He was especially having fun talking to his little grandson Yuri. When I told him hello, he asked what I was up to. I told him I was fixing to raise holy hell outside the Walls Unit. He laughed and asked if I had my sound system with me and I told him I sure did. He said to tell everyone he thanks them for all their love and support and to keep up the fight and never give up. He said he had just finished eating his last meal and the fried chicken was really good!
  Sarge’s attorney was Maurie Levin from UT in Austin and she is one of the best ones you could have. She was tearfully coming out of the Hospitality House when we drove up and I saw a look of utter horror on her face so I asked what was up. She said the Supreme Court had just denied Sarge’s appeal. Later she told us that all six of the men on the Supreme Court voted against Sarge but all three women voted for him. We decided that sends a strong message that men are generally inferior and we need more women on the Court. While Yuri’s parents, Rowan and Michael, were talking with Sarge, Maurie took baby duty and was so comforting that Yuri actually slept for a few minutes! He’s a very active baby and never slept again during the execution and during the time we were with sarge’s body at the church, some 3 or 4 hours later!
Maurie has represented death sentenced inmates in state and federal court since 1993. In addition to co-directing the Capital Punishment Clinic at University of Texas, she works with the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, consulting with attorneys representing inmates, including Mexican Nationals, on Texas’ death row. In 2008 Maurie was recognized by Texas Lawyer as one of thirty “Extraordinary Woman in Texas Law”.
So the best for the best. Too bad the courts aren’t the best.
  At 5 o’clock it was time for those witnessing the execution to go to the prison administration building, which is right across the street from the death house. Before leaving, a man says a prayer for Sarge. Sarge’s spiritual advisor (in the white shirt on the right) is Cathy Cox, a minister with the Salvation Army in Dallas and an incredible, extraordinary woman. She has been visiting men on death row for 30 years and has been with probably over a hundred of them as they were murdered. The men love her and she loves them. She visits men who never see another visitor for years and is such a comfort to them. Every Thursday and Friday, like clockwork, you can count on Cathy Cox being in the visiting room at death row, ministering and visiting with her friends.
 DaLisa and Stacey holding signs in front of Karl Rodenberg from Germany and Ward Larkin with the long Santa Claus beard. The brother with the white cap does a prison radio show on a religious station in Houston.
 Sarge’s good friends Joy and Danielle at the protest.
 TEAM SARGE is on duty outside the death house.
  Nadine Broxton is here from Paris to visit her loved one on death row, Eugene Broxton, and to be with us to protest the murder of Sarge.
 Sarge’s son Michael and Sarge’s sister Susie from Kentucky give Sarge a last bit of love and tell him goodbye. Joy now has baby duty and is entertaining little Yuri. Rowan has taken Sarge’s mom out in a wheel chair and folks are getting ready to leave.
As Joanne and I drive back to Houston, Michael and the other Fosters go back to their motel in Livingston. When Michael got to the motel, he posted this photo on Face Book of him in his dad’s shirt. They had gone through Sarge’s property and I guess this shirt turned up. Not only does Michael have big shoes to fill, but now a big shirt! Sarge was a big man in so many ways–he was physically large but with a large heart and a large personality and a large smile for the world. AND A LARGE CLAIM OF INNOCENCE THAT NO COURT EVER HEARD.
Tomorrow some of the Fosters will drive back to Kentucky.  Michael and Rowan and little Yuri will drive back to Montana.
Cathy Cox will visit another man on death row in the morning and tomorrow afternoon I will go visit Anthony Pierce down at the Harris County Jail, a man who spent 35 years on death row and just got his sentence changed to life and is now up for parole. He was barely 18 when arrested and is now 53 years old. And he is innocent. Harris county has stolen his whole life. But that’s another story of injustice for another day.
In just two weeks, the Abolition Movement will be back in Huntsville for the execution of Jonathan Green, an African American man from Montgomery County who suffers from mental illness.
Y la lucha sigue!
And the struggle continues!

Texas executed Cleve “Sarge” Foster Tuesday. He had received three stays of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court because of questions about how forcefully his lawyers defended him. He was the 247th person executed in Texas since Rick Perry became governor and the 486th since 1982 in Texas. Foster was the 30th person executed in the United States this year and the ninth in Texas.

In his last statement, Foster sent his love to his family and friends. “I love you, I pray one day we will all meet in heaven …,” Foster said. “Ready to go home to meet my maker.”

Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976

Foster had asked the U.S. high court for a fourth stay of execution but it was denied on Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m. local time (2343 GMT) at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas criminal justice spokesman Jason Clark said.

Tuesday’s request for a fourth stay was referred by Justice Antonin Scalia to the full court but just three of the nine justices — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — said they would favor another.

Family of Cleve "Sarge" Foster

“It was so hard for Sarge’s son Michael to let his father go. Michael and Sarge loved each other and this death will hurt so many for so long”, said Gloria Rubac.

Family of Cleve "Sarge" Foster

Sarge’s family praying before they leave for the death house.

Family of Cleve "Sarge" Foster

His family talking to Sarge Foster on the phone hours before his execution.

Photos by Gloria Rubac.

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