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.
5/10/02

Texas Moratorium Network
512.302.6715
www.texasmoratorium.org

Contact: Brian Evans:

Texas Needs to Follow the Example of Maryland and Enact a Moratorium on
Executions

"The decision by Gov. Parris Glendening of Maryland today to impose a
moratorium on executions until the state completes a study of whether there
is racial bias in the use of the death penalty should be another wake-up
call to Texas," said Scott Cobb, a Board member of Texas Moratorium
Network. TMN is a state-wide non-profit organization.

"Race is not only a problem with the administration of the death penalty in
Maryland. Race is one of the major factors that need to be addressed in
Texas too. 41 percent of people on Death Row in Texas are African-American,
65 percent are people of color. An African-American is much more likely to
face the death penalty as opposed to life in prison if the victim was white.
Consider, the case of Napoleon Beazley. Napoleon was a gifted 17-year-old
African American honor student with no previous criminal record at the time
of his crime. He was sentenced to death by an all-white jury for the murder
of a white person," said Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network.

Cobb said, "A moratorium on executions will give us time to step back, and
examine the entire system of capital punishment in Texas. If we do not fix
the system, we will soon find out that we have executed an entirely innocent
person. Right now there are several people on death row in Texas with
credible claims of innocence."

"There are people on death row in Texas who even the Texas Attorney General
John Cornyn believes should be given a new sentencing trial since they were
sentenced to death in part because of testimony by a prosecution witness
that they pose a continuing threat to society because of their race. I am
talking about the case of Victor Saldano. The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals has said such racially biased testimony does not matter, but we
Texans know it does matter. We can not have a system where people are
sentenced to death because of the color of their skin and not because of the
facts of their cases," said Cobb.

According to TMN’s webpage, "The death penalty is applied with severe
racial and economic bias. We are executing juveniles and people with mental
retardation and it is much more expensive than a life without parole
sentence. Common sense demands that we stop executions and conduct a
comprehensive review of the system. The Texas Moratorium Network is calling
for an immediate moratorium on executions so that these serious questions
about the application of the death penalty can be reviewed."

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)

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