|Scott Cobb, Chris Ochoa and Jeanette Popp
in Austin on April 11, 2011
Christopher Ochoa and Jeanette Popp were in Austin yesterday to film interviews for an August 2011 program on the Discovery Network about wrongful convictions. Also in town was John Pray of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which led the effort to exonerate Chris Ochoa.
Chris is an innocent person who was wrongfully convicted of murdering Jeanette’s daughter, Nancy DePriest, in Austin. He spent 12 years in prison before another person confessed to the crime. He and a co-defendant, Richard Danziger, received a settlement of about 14 million dollars from the City of Austin for misconduct by the Austin Police Department leading to their wrongful convictions.
Ms. Popp asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, because she says she did not want her daughter’s memory stained with someone’s blood. “I’m not a bleeding heart liberal,” she says. “But I do have a heart.”
Since the exoneration, she has been an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. That doesn’t mean she wants Mr. Marino to ever walk free.
We heard Anthony Graves speak Thursday night at CEDP’s panel discussion at UT-Austin. He is such an eloquent speaker and his story is so powerful. The members of the Texas Legislature should think about what happened to Anthony and acknowledge that the same thing could happen to any of us. Anthony was completely innocent yet he was condemned to death in Texas. Anthony is walking evidence why Texas should enact a moratorium and start discussing the future of the death penalty in Texas.
From death rows to super-maxes, over 2.3 million men and women sit behind bars today. “Lethal Injustice” speakers are organizing on the front-lines of the fight against criminal injustice, taking a stand against the racist, prison build-up and harsh sentencing.
This national speaking tour of the Campaign to END the Death Penalty will be featuring panelists including exonerated prisoners, family members, activists, lawyers and scholars.
This event is being held at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas in The University Teaching Center, room UTC1.102. A campus map to this building can be found here.
UTC is located at the corner of University Ave. and 21st Street.
A $5 suggested donation is encouraged, help keep events like this one happening in your area!
Event to begin promptly at 7pm, discussion will follow the speaker’s presentations.
Call Texas Governor Perry to register your opposition to Tuesday’s scheduled execution in Texas of Cleve Foster, who is the first person scheduled to be killed by Texas using a new drug after the state was unable to legally acquire the drug used in past executions.
Perry’s phone number is 512 463 2000. Email Perry through his website here. Urge Perry to use his power to stop this execution by issuing a 30 day stay of execution.
People will gather in Austin outside the gates of the Texas Capitol at 11th Street and Congress Avenue at 5:30 PM on Tuesday April 5 to protest the scheduled execution of Cleve Foster.
Read a statement by Foster’s attorney about the state’s plans to use a new execution drug in his scheduled execution, which says in part:
“Texas is rushing to carry out an execution using an entirely new protocol, but they refuse to fully disclose basic information, such as whether any medical authorities were consulted regarding the incorporation of a new drug; the source of the pentobarbitol; and the training of personnel who will implement the new procedure for the first time.
“Prison officials are not medical professionals. They cannot be trusted to change a medical procedure in the dark of night without public scrutiny, especially when there is such a minimal track record on the use of pentobarbital in lethal injections. To ensure that the new protocol comports with Texas’ constitution, we need — and Texas law requires — a deliberative process with appropriate authoritative input and public comment. We expect our state officials to not conduct its business in secret – particularly when it concerns the ultimate act that Texas can take against one of its citizens. The rush to execute should not trump the need to ensure that appropriate safeguards have been taken, or the far reaching implications of circumventing a deliberate process, especially when it is TDCJ that has waited until the last minute to decide on or announce the change in how it plans to carry out executions.”
Foster maintains he was not responsible for the murder of the victim. His co-defendant, who died in prison awaiting execution, also said that Foster did not kill the victim. Read more about the case in legal documents supplied to the Dallas Morning News by Foster’s sisters.
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.
We hope that you will join us in this fight for fairness and social justice.Please join our email list and become one of the more than 20,000 people receiving information through our network.