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.

Click here to watch a video from MyFox Austin about the hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence on a bill to establish a two year moratorium on executions and to create a commission to study the death penalty, and another bill to abolish the death penalty, both filed by State Rep Harold Dutton. Clarence Brandley, an innocent person who spent ten years on death row in Texas for a crime he did not commit, testified to the committee. He is shown being interviewed by MyFoxAustin.

Statement from former Texas Governor Mark White Supporting HB 1641 by Rep Harold Dutton

Charles Terrell,
Former Chairman of the Texas Criminal Justice Department
Former Chairman of the Texas Criminal Justice Task Force
Chairman of Safer Dallas Better Dallas.

Statement by Charles Terrell Supporting HB 1641 for a moratorium on executions

Kenneth Foster Sr in 2007 after hearing the news that his son
Kenneth Foster Jr’s death sentence was just commuted to life
by Governor Rick Perry

Today, Tuesday March 29, the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will hear testimony on two bills that would require separate trials in death penalty cases. HB 2200 was filed by State Rep Borris Miles to require separate trials. HB 2511 was filed by State Rep Harold Dutton. In addition to the separate trials requirement, Dutton’s HB 2511 also contains a provision prohibiting death sentences in Law of Parties cases.

The issue of separate trials arose after Governor Rick Perry commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Foster, Jr in 2007. At the time, Perry cited the fact that Foster had been tried together with his co-defendant as a reason for his decision to commute the death sentence. Rep Dutton has also filed HB 855 that would prohibit death sentences in Law of Parties cases. It will also be heard on Tuesday.

Below is the statement Perry issued on the day of the commutation in 2007:

Governor Rick Perry Commutes Death Sentence

Thursday, August 30, 2007  •  Press Release
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Eugene Foster of San Antonio to life imprisonment after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP) recommended such action.

On May 6, 1997, Foster was sentenced to death for his role in the 1996 capital murder of Michael LaHood. Foster sought to have his death sentence commuted to a life sentence arguing that he did not shoot the victim, but merely drove the car in which that the actual killer was riding. In addition, Foster was tried along side the actual killer, Maurecio Brown, and the jury that convicted Foster also considered punishment for both him and his co-defendant in the same proceeding.
“After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster’s sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Gov. Perry said. “I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the legislature should examine.”
The TBPP voted 6-1 to recommend commutation, and the governor signed the commutation papers Thursday morning.
The governor’s action means Foster’s sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment as soon as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice can process this change.

The likely start time for the hearing on the death penalty bills on Tuesday March 29 in the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence is 1:30 – 2 PM. The full House does not even start meeting until noon and the committee does not start until “upon adjournment of the House”, so 1:30 or 2 is the probable start time for the hearing.

The hearing will likely go all afternoon and maybe into the early evening. We do not know in which order the bills will be taken up. If you absolutely can not get off work till 5, then come by after work and you will probably still be able to sign a support form in favor of the bills. But try to get there earlier so we can fill the meeting room with lots of people.

The House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence has set a hearing for Tuesday March 29, 2011 on several death penalty related bills, including a moratorium on executions (HB 1641), abolition of the death penalty (HB 852 and HB 819), and prohibiting death sentences in Law of Parties cases (HB 855 and HB 2511).

Please make plans to attend the meeting and sign in to show your support for bills that would stop executions in Texas. The meeting will be held in room 120 of the John H. Reagan Building at 105 W. 15th Street in Austin in the capitol complex (map). We have created a Facebook event page for the committee hearing. Post the event page to your Facebook profile and invite your friends to the meeting, so we get more people to attend the meeting.

Call the members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and urge them to vote in favor of a moratorium on executions, as well as the other bills that you favor.

Chair: Pete Gallego (Democrat, District 74 – Alpine)   (512) 463-0566  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/petegallego

Vice Chair: Will Hartnett (Republican, District 114 – Dallas)  (512) 463-0576  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/willhartnett

Jose Aliseda (Republican, District 35 – Beeville)   (512) 463-0645   
Email form   http://tinyurl.com/josealiseda

Cindy Burkett (Republican, District101 – Mesquite)  (512) 463-0464  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/cindyburkett

Stefani Carter (Republican,District 102 – Dallas)   (512) 463-0454  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/stefanicarter

Wayne Christian (Republican,District 9 – Center)  (512) 463-0556  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/waynechristian

Yvonne Davis (Democrat, District 111 – Dallas)   (512) 463-0598  
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/yvonnedavis

Eddie Rodriguez (Democrat, District 51 – Austin)   (512) 463-0674   
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/repeddierodriguez

Bill Zedler (Republican,District 96 – Arlington)   (512) 463-0374   
Email form  http://tinyurl.com/billzedler

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
COMMITTEE: Criminal Jurisprudence

TIME and DATE: Upon final adjourn./recess
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

PLACE: JHR 120
CHAIR: Rep. Pete Gallego

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