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.
Rais Bhuiyan

Please contact Governor Rick Perry to urge him to grant a stay of execution to Mark Stroman, who is scheduled for execution Wednesday, July 20. Rais Bhuiyan , who survived being shot by Mark Stroman is urging that Stroman not be executed.

Call Governor Perry at 512 463 2000. You can also use Perry’s website contact form, or better yet, both call and email.

They will answer the phone during office hours. If you call after office hours, you can leave a message.

Come to the Texas Capitol at 11th and Congress on Wednesday, July 20 at 5:30 PM to protest the scheduled execution of Mark Stroman.

Urge Governor Perry to grant a stay of execution for Mark Stroman.

Just 10 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was working at a gas station in Dallas when he was shot in the face by a man named Mark Stroman.

Stroman was on a shooting spree, targeting people who appeared to be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. Stroman is due to be executed July 20; Bhuiyan, the only survivor of the attacks, is fighting to save his life.

When Stroman entered the gas station, Bhuiyan initially thought it was a routine robbery.

“I opened the cash register, offered him the cash, and requested him not to shoot me,” Bhuiyan tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan. “In reply he asked me, ‘Where are you from?’ And the question seemed strange to ask during a robbery. And I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And as soon as I spoke, I felt the sensation of a million bees stinging my face, and then heard an explosion.”

Bhuiyan required medical attention for years after the attack. The bullet hit him on the right side of the face, leaving severe injuries, particularly to his right eye.

“I had to go through several surgeries and finally the doctor could save the eye, but the vision is gone, and I’m still carrying more than 35 pellets on the right side of my face,” he says. “Once I touch my face, my skull, I can feel it’s all bumpy. It took several years to go through all these painful surgeries one after another one.”

From CBS News:

Less than a week before convicted killer Mark Anthony Stroman is scheduled for execution, one of his victims is suing Texas Governor Rick Perry in effort to save the life of the man who tried to take his during a spree of hate crimes following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“Please do the right thing, save a human life, please,” Rais Bhuiyan said from the steps of the Travis County Courthouse Thursday, according to CBS affiliate KTVT.

Bhuiyan, a devout Muslim, begged for mercy for Stroman, a death row inmate who shot him in 2001, leaving him partially blind.

“Please, listen to my request and lower Mark’s punishment from death to life in prison,” he said, “If the Governor of Texas and the Board of Pardons and Parole can listen to the victims when they want revenge, why can they not listen when the victims are asking for mercy?”

Stroman was convicted of killing an Islamic man in the months following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but according to police, he also killed a second man and shot Bhuiyan, who was working at a convenience store in southeastern Dallas. According to KTVT, all the victims were from India and Pakistan.

Stroman believed the U.S. government “hadn’t done their job so he was going to do it for them” and retaliate for the terrorist attacks, according to The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“September 11th did a horrible thing not just to the U.S. but to the world, this is a time we can take a new narrative, a narrative of forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and healing,” Bhuiyan said. “I never hated him, I was never angry at him, rather I understand what he did was out of ignorance.”


TribLive: A Conversation About Cameron Todd Willingham from texastribune on Vimeo.

After a recent screening of “Incendiary: The Willingham Case”, Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith talked about the science of fire and death penalty politics with the filmmakers, Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.; former Forensic Science Commission Chairman Sam Bassett; former Texas Gov. Mark White; and acting Corsicana City Attorney Terry Jacobson.

Click here to watch the panel discussion. Former Texas Governor Mark White makes some good points during the discussion.

Please contact Governor Rick Perry to urge him to grant a stay of execution to Humberto Leal, who is scheduled for execution Thursday, July 7. 

Call Governor Perry at 512 463 2000.

They will answer the phone during office hours. If you call after office hours, you can leave a message.
Urge Governor Perry to grant a stay of execution for Humberto Leal until the U.S. Congress has time to pass the legislation already filed that would put the United States into compliance with its international obligations to review death sentences in cases in which the person convicted was not allowed to contact their consulate for assistance.

Executing a person who was not allowed to contact his consulate for legal assistance puts all Americans traveling in other countries in danger. Think about the three American hikers arrested in Iran. They would have suffered even more and had more legal difficulties if they had been denied their rights to contact the American consulate.




The text below is taken from the website www.humbertoleal.org
:

On July 7, Texas is poised to execute Humberto Leal Garcia,

a Mexican national who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death without ever being informed that he had the right to seek assistance from the Mexican consulate – assistance that in his case would have made the difference between life and death.
American students, tourists, members of our military, businesspeople and aid workers who travel abroad depend on the vital lifeline of consular access. Those who have been wrongly detained overseas often say that the assistance of the consulate is more important than the advice of a foreign lawyer. As in the case of Mr. Leal, their rights to consular access are protected by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations – one of the most widely ratified treaties in the world.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held that Mr. Leal was entitled to a hearing on the consular rights violation in his case. President Bush, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Obama Administration have all acknowledged that the United States is obligated to comply with ICJ’s decision.
Congress has now introduced legislation that would require implementation of the ICJ’s decision. The bill before Congress has the support of the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State.
On July 1, in a rare move, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a stay of execution for Mr. Leal until the end of the Congressional term “in order to allow the United States additional time to meet its international-law obligations.” The Solicitor General states that “failure to comply with [the Vienna Convention] will weaken the force of the United States’ insistence that other countries respect those rules; an internationally high-profile execution while remedial legislation is pending would greatly exacerbate that problem.”
If a court does not intervene or Texas Governor Rick Perry does not grant a stay to Mr. Leal, other nations will be emboldened to violate the consular rights of U.S. citizens arrested in foreign countries, and American citizens traveling abroad will be placed at risk. The case of the three hikers arrested on the Iranian border and charged with espionage is a reminder of the dangers that U.S. citizens face traveling abroad.
Because of these safety concerns, former diplomats, retired military officials, and organizations representing Americans abroad are coming forward to urge Governor Perry to grant a stay and the U.S. Congress to pass legislation which would entitle Mr. Leal to a hearing on the consular rights violation.
If the Mexican consulate had been informed of Mr. Leal’s arrest, it would have retained highly qualified and experienced legal counsel. In the absence of consular assistance, he was represented by a court-appointed lawyer who has been suspended or reprimanded on multiple occasions for ethical violations. Mr. Leal’s trial lawyers failed to challenge the junk science that the prosecution relied on to obtain a conviction, and they failed to tell the jury about critical facts that could have spared his life—including evidence that he was raped by his parish priest in San Antonio. Mr. Leal is now seeking modern DNA testing to show that he is innocent of the crime. With consular assistance, Mr. Leal would never have been convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

My name is Kerry Max Cook. I am not here to talk about what it took for me to survive twenty-two years on death row as an innocent person. I am here to talk about a man I met while I was on Texas death row also innocent, my friend, Randall Dale Adams. 

It was the summer of 1978 when I met a young Randall Dale Adams on cellblock J-21 — the original death row “wing” where those exiled under a sentence of death were assigned “Ad. Seg,” or Administrative Segregation, as prison officials call it. 

Death row was a lot of things, but most of all, it was a wild and crazy place, a hate-factory and an austere human repository warehousing every conceivable mental and emotional disorder known to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). 

As an example, Randall and I would be talking and, without warning, violence erupted from somewhere around us. Once, I witnessed a quick scuffle and then heard the dull thud of a heavy body falling solidly to the concrete floor, met by a guard’s shrill screams, “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!” The body of death row inmate Edward King lay prostrate gasping his last breath with a chicken bone protruding from his chest, mortally wounded by a fellow death row inmate – – his best friend. By the time the nurses arrived, Edward King needed only the stale, dirty State-issued dingy sheet to wrap and remove him to await the Walker County coroner’s office. 

Randall Dale Adams clearly didn’t belong there, despite having come, at one time, less than 72 hours away from execution. He didn’t suffer from an anti-social, schizophrenic personality disorder, indigenous to a diseased and dangerous mind gone AWOL. Randall Dale Adams was no killer. 

Simply put, Randall Dale Adams was a square, an innocent American citizen who fell victim to the antics of a troubled teenager named David Ray Harris. Randall, through twist of fate, got caught in the cross hairs of an overzealous Texas prosecutor. Randall was a naive, quiet and unassuming, kind man who cared about others. Had he not agreed to give David Harris a ride that fateful night, I would not have met Randall on death row and officer Robert W. Wood would still be alive. 

The last time I saw Randall was when we met in Austin and testified before the 77th Texas Legislature. 

Randall’s ordeal with Texas officials and the fight to clear his name and be recognized was so grueling and intense; he left public life and moved back to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio where he died last October. 

In representing Randall in this moment of grief, I think if Randall could have left you with something, it would be this: 

“We rightfully legislate laws to honor victims of unspeakable crimes. You didn’t recognize me in life, and maybe you won’t recognize me in death, but I still believe in you, even though your politics sometimes prevents you from believing in me. You don’t have to remember me, but please, for the sake of those who follow after me, please remember my story….” 

Randall Dale Adams in 2001 Calling for a Moratorium on
Executions in Texas

On June 22, we blogged about the death of Texas death row exoneree Randall Dale Adams. Randall will be missed. He was someone who could bear personal witness about the injustice of the Texas death penalty. The power of his voice was evident in 2001 when he testified to a committee in the Texas Legislature for a moratorium bill, helping to convince the committee to vote in favor of stopping executions and studying the system.

The news of Randall’s death was picked up by the AP, which said:

Adams did such a good job of disappearing that his Oct. 30 death from a brain tumor didn’t become widely known until Friday, when it was reported by the Dallas Morning News. (His former attorney) Randy Schaffer confirmed his former client’s death after speaking to his family. Adams was 61.”

Now, the New York Times has a long story about Randall, who died in October 2010. Condolences, memories and tributes can be left here.

June 25, 2011

Randall Adams, 61, Dies; Freed With Help of Film

Randall Dale Adams, who spent 12 years in prison before his conviction in the murder of a Dallas police officer was thrown out largely on the basis of evidence uncovered by a filmmaker, died in obscurity in October in Washington Court House, Ohio. He was 61.
Mr. Adams had chosen to live a quiet life divorced from his past, and when he died on Oct. 30, 2010, of a brain tumor, the death was reported only locally, said his lawyer, Randy Schaffer. The death was first widely reported on Friday.
The film that proved so crucial to Mr. Adams was “The Thin Blue Line,” directed by Errol Morris and released in 1988. It told a harrowing story, and it had the effect of helping to bring about Mr. Adams’s release the following year.
“We’re not talking about a cop killer who’s getting out on a technicality,” Mr. Morris said when Mr. Adams was set free. “We’re talking about an unbelievable nightmare.”
The story began on Nov. 27, 1976. Mr. Adams was walking along a Dallas street after his car had run out of gas when a teenager, David Ray Harris, came by in a stolen car and offered him a ride. The two spent the day drinking, smoking marijuana and going to a drive-in movie.
Shortly after midnight, a Dallas police officer, Robert Wood, stopped a car for a traffic violation and was shot and killed. The investigation led to Mr. Harris, who accused Mr. Adams of the murder. Other witnesses corroborated his testimony, and Mr. Adams was convicted in 1977.
Sentenced to die by lethal injection, Mr. Adams appealed the verdict, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to overturn it. His execution was scheduled for May 8, 1979.
Three days before the execution, the United States Supreme Court ordered a stay on the grounds that prospective jurors who had been uneasy about the death penalty were excluded during jury selection even though they had clearly said they would follow Texas law.
Gov. Bill Clements went on to commute Mr. Adams’s sentence to life in prison. With the death penalty no longer an issue, the Texas appeals court ruled there was “now no error in the case.”
In March 1985, Mr. Morris arrived in Dallas to work on a documentary about a psychiatrist whose testimony in death penalty cases was controversial. The psychiatrist contended that he could predict future criminal behavior, something the American Psychiatric Association had said was impossible.
In Dallas, Mr. Morris met Mr. Schaffer, who had been working on the case since 1982. The two began piecing together a puzzle that pointed to Mr. Harris’s guilt in the police shooting. Mr. Harris had by then accumulated a long criminal record and was on death row for an unrelated murder.
Mr. Morris and Mr. Schaffer knew from the records that Mr. Harris had bragged about killing a police officer after the shooting but had then recanted and blamed Mr. Adams, and that the pistol used in the killing had been stolen from his father.
Their own investigation revealed that three witnesses had been improperly sprung on the defense and that they had committed perjury in their testimony. Moreover, a statement that Mr. Adams signed during an interrogation was misconstrued as an admission that he had been at the scene of the crime.
With so much evidence seeming to suggest Mr. Harris’s guilt, many Texans believed prosecutors had gone after Mr. Adams and not Mr. Harris because Mr. Harris, who was 16, was too young to be executed under Texas law. In the murder of a police officer, the theory went, prosecutors almost always seek the most severe punishment.
Mr. Schaffer said Mr. Morris gained access to witnesses and others related to the case. “They forgot the script they learned for the trial,” he said. “They told the truth.”
After the movie came out in 1988, the resulting outcry prompted a judge to grant another hearing, something Mr. Schaffer had not been able to accomplish. Mr. Harris recanted his previous testimony, without confessing. In 2004, Mr. Harris was executed for the other murder.
In March 1989, the Texas appeals court ruled Mr. Adams was entitled to a new trial because of the perjured testimony. Three weeks later, he was released on his own recognizance, and two days after that the Dallas district attorney dropped all charges.
Mr. Adams lived a peripatetic life afterward, first returning to his native Ohio, then moving to upstate New York, later returning to Texas, in the Houston area, and finally settling again in Ohio. Mr. Schaffer said Mr. Adams gave speeches against the death penalty and married the sister of a man on death row. He did not know if they were still married at his death.
Mr. Adams’s mother died in December, and he is survived by at least one sister, Mr. Schaffer said.
Mr. Morris went on to make, among other films, “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara” (2003), which won an Academy Award.
Mr. Schaffer said that if Mr. Adams were found to be wrongly convicted under today’s law in Texas, he would get $80,000 for each year of incarceration. At the time his conviction was thrown out, wrongly convicted prisoners could get a lump sum payment of $25,000 if pardoned by the governor. But Mr. Adams was ineligible for the money. He had not been pardoned; his case had been dismissed.
He also did not receive the $200 given to prisoners when they are released on parole or on the completion of their sentences, Mr. Schaffer said. Again, Mr. Adams did not qualify.


In 2001, Randall Dale Adams testified to a committees in the Texas House and Senate and told his story of how he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to Texas death row. His testimony helped convince the committees to vote in favor of a moratorium on executions. Later in 2001, 53 members of the Texas House voted for a moratorium on the floor of the Texas House in a bill filed by Rep Harold Dutton.

This year in 2011, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence again considered a bill for a moratorium on executions, but the committee took no action on the bill. Maybe if the committee members had been able to hear from Randall Adams they would have voted for a moratorium.

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