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 “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” will be held in Austin from March 14-18, 2011. The full schedule and a registration form is on the website:www.springbreakalternative.org/deathpenalty. Special guests include six exonerated people who all-together spent about 50 years condemned to death for crimes they did not commit: Anthony GravesClarence Brandley,Shujaa GrahamRon KeineGary Drinkard and Albert Burrell.  
Now is an important time in the national effort to end the death penalty. After 11 years of a moratorium, Illinois may soon abolish the death penalty if the governor signs the abolition bill he has been sent by Illinois legislators. Students who attend the alternative spring break will train to join the national effort against the death penalty and to help stop executions in Texas – the number one execution state in the United States. 
Other speakers include:
  • former Bexar County District Attorney Sam Millsap, who prosecuted Ruben Cantu who was executed in 1993. Millsap acknowledges that Cantu may have been innocent (watch video)
  • former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Charlie Baird, who will be on a panel together with Sam Millsap on Monday March 14 at 7 PM (room at UT-Austin to be announced).
  • Danielle Dirks, who teaches the course “Capital Punishment in America” in the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
All events are free and open to the public, both studets and non-students.
The first two days will be held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The second two days will be held at the Texas Capitol. Rooms to be announced.
On Wednesday, March 16, students will participate in a “Day of Innocence” Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty and attend a panel discussion with the six death row exonerees at 3:00 PM in the Texas Capitol (room to be announced). The spring breakers will join other people from across Texas who will come to the Capitol in Austin on the “Day of Innocence” to advocate for reforms that would impact the Texas death penalty, including a package of innocence bills, a bill for a moratorium on executions and a commission to study the death penalty system and a bill to require separate trials in death penalty cases.
Students will organize a rally against the death penalty at 5:30 PM at the Texas Capitol on March 16.
On Thursday, March 17 at noon, participants in the alternative spring break will attend a screening at the SXSW Film Festival of the new documentary “Incendiary” about the case of Todd Willingham. There will be a Q&A with the Austin filmmakers Steve Sims and Joe Bailey, Jr after the screening.
Austin is an appropriate location for this alternative spring break because Texas is the number one execution state in the United States. 466 people have been executed in Texas since 1982, including people who may have been innocent, such as Todd Willingham, Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna.
Alternative spring breaks are designed to give high school and college students something meaningful to do during their week off. The specific purpose of this alternative spring break is to train the next generation of human rights leaders by bringing students to Austin for five days of anti-death penalty activism, lobbying and education. “We will provide participants with workshops that will teach them skills they can use to go back home and set up new anti-death penalty student organizations or improve ones that may already exist. Participants can apply what they learn to organize against the death penalty or in their activities involving other issues,” said Hooman Hedayati, recently hired as Texas Field Organizer for Witness to Innocence. Hedayati participated in the 2005 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break as a high school senior. He later founded Students Against the Death Penalty.
Students will gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying and media relations. There will be opportunities to write press releases, organize a press conference with death row exonerees, speak in public, meet with legislators or their aides, and organize a rally at the capitol.
The “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” was started by Texas Moratorium Network in 2004. It is now organized and co-sponsored by Students Against the Death Penalty, TMN, Witness to Innocence, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin chapter, Campus Progress and Amnesty International.
This is an historical echo to what happened in 1964 when people came down to the South during the Civil Rights Movement to register people to vote during Freedom Summer. This is similar to what was going on back then, but here the issue is organizing against the death penalty. Many young people from across the nation and throughout Texas have come to Austin over the years to learn about the injustice of the death penalty, train to take action to oppose executions and gain experience lobbying about the death penalty. 
“Students and youth have played a critical role in every major struggle for civil and human rights in this nation. Ending the abomination of capital punishment is the calling of this generation. Just as before, student activists will likely determine the future of this issue. You must be part of the debate and the action.” – Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

There is no participation fee for the “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” except for those people who need housing. Housing is $25, which gets participants a place to sleep for four nights in a dormitory or hotel room shared with other students. Participation for students who do not need housing, because they live in Austin or are making their own housing arrangements is free, but everyone is asked to register so the organizers know how many people to expect. Participants are expected to travel to Austin at their own expense and pay for their meals and incidental expenses while in Austin. In their free time, students who are interested in music and film will have time to attend some of the events of the world-renowned SXSW festival.
To register for the “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break”, people may visit: http://www.springbreakalternative.org/deathpenalty

People working to stop executions in Texas will spend the day on Wednesday, March 16, lobbying Texas legislators during the “Day of Innocence” and Statewide Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty. Register online.

Special guests on the “Day of Innocence” include six death row exonerees who together spent almost 50 years on death row for crimes they did not commit:  Anthony GravesClarence BrandleyShujaa GrahamRon KeineGary Drinkard and Albert Burrell.

“It is time for the Texas Legislature to pass reforms that will protect innocent people from the injustice of wrongful convictions and to stop executions with a moratorium on executions. Participants in the Lobby Day will also advocate for the two bills filed to abolish the death penalty or any death penalty related bill that is important to them, such as the bill requiring separate trials in death penalty cases or the Law of Parties bill”, said Scott Cobb, president of Texas Moratorium Network.
People interested in participating in the Lobby Day can register online. Registration is not mandatory, but it helps organizers schedule appointments with legislators.
The “Day of Innocence” will be a day we will always remember, a day when we stood side by side fighting against the death penalty with people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. Don’t be one of those people who one day “shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here” and fought with us on the Day of Innocence”, said Cobb.
The “Day of Innocence” on March 16 will conclude with a rally at 5:30 PM on the South Steps of the Capitol.

Schedule for the Statewide Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty and “Day of Innocence” – Wednesday March 16, 2011

The main base of operations for the “Day of Innocence” will be room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol

For more information, contact Scott Cobb at 512 552 4743

8 :00 – 9:00 AM Check-in and Meet and Greet at the Texas Capitol in room E2.026. Legislators, staff members, everyone coming to Austin for the Lobby Day and anyone at the capitol and the general public is welcome to attend and meet death row exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell who all spent many years on death row for crimes they did not commit.
9 – 10 AM Lobby Training. People coming for Lobby Day will be trained and given assignments. People who received training before Lobby Day can begin lobbying. Location: Room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol.
Sometime during the day while the House and Senate are in session the death row exonerees may be recognized and honored with a resolution in the Texas House and/or Senate. 
10 AM – Noon Visit legislative offices to lobby legislators and their staff.
Noon – 1 PM Lunch on your own. There is a cafeteria in the Texas Capitol.
1 – 2 PM  Press conference and group photo in Texas House Speaker’s Committee Room 2W.6 at Texas Capitol with death row exonerees and others.
2 – 3 More lobbying visits to legislative offices. 
3:00 – 4:30 PM Panel Discussion on “Innocence and the Death Penalty” with six death row exonerees, Location: room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol. Panelists and guests include exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell who are all innocent people who spent many years on death row for crimes they did not commit.
4:30:- 5:00 Set up for rally and final legislative office visits.
5:30 – 7:00 “Day of Innocence” Statewide Rally Against the Death Penalty on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol. Rally Speakers and other special guests include death row exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell.
Lobby Day has been organized since 2003 by several organizations working together, the same ones who also organize the annual “March to Abolish the Death Penalty” each October: Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin chapter, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty.
Organizations that would like to participate or co-sponsor the Lobby Day can email admin@texasmoratorium.org or call 512-961-6389.

The “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” will be held in Austin from March 14-18, 2011. The full schedule and a registration form is on the website: www.springbreakalternative.org/deathpenalty. Special guests include six exonerated people who all-together spent about 50 years condemned to death for crimes they did not commit: Anthony GravesClarence BrandleyShujaa GrahamRon KeineGary Drinkard and Albert Burrell 


Now is an important time in the national effort to end the death penalty. After 11 years of a moratorium, Illinois may soon abolish the death penalty if the governor signs the abolition bill he has been sent by Illinois legislators. Students who attend the alternative spring break will train to join the national effort against the 
death penalty and to help stop executions in Texas – the number one execution state in the United States. 

Other speakers include:

  • former Bexar County District Attorney Sam Millsap
  • former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Charlie Baird, who will be on a panel together with Sam Millsap on Monday March 14 at 7 PM (room at UT-Austin to be announced).
  • Danielle Dirks, who teaches the course “Capital Punishment in America” in the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
All events are free and open to the public, both studets and non-students. The first two days will be held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin in a room to be announced. The second two days will be held at the Texas Capitol. Rooms to be announced.

On Wednesday, March 16, students will participate in a “Day of Innocence” Lobby Day and attend a panel discussion with the six death row exonerees at 3:00 PM in the Texas Capitol (room to be announced). The spring breakers will join other people from across Texas who will come to the Capitol in Austin on the “Day of Innocence” to advocate for reforms that would impact the Texas death penalty, including a package of innocence bills, a bill for a moratorium on executions and a commission to study the death penalty system and a bill to require separate trials in death penalty cases.

Students will organize a rally against the death penalty at 5:30 PM on the South Steps on March 16. 

On Thursday, March 17 at noon, participants in the alternative spring break will attend a screening at the SXSW Film Festival of the new documentary “Incendiary” about the case of Todd Willingham. There will be a Q&A with the Austin filmmakers Steve Sims and Joe Bailey, Jr after the screening.



Austin is an appropriate location for this alternative spring break because Texas is the number one execution state in the United States. 466 people have been executed in Texas since 1982, including people who may have been innocent, such as Todd Willingham, Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna.


Alternative spring breaks are designed to give high school and college students something meaningful to do during their week off. The specific purpose of this alternative spring break is to train the next generation of human rights leaders by bringing students to Austin for five days of anti-death penalty activism, lobbying and education. “We will provide participants with workshops that will teach them skills they can use to go back home and set up new anti-death penalty student organizations or improve ones that may already exist. Participants can apply what they learn to organize against the death penalty or in their activities involving other issues,” said Hooman Hedayati, recently hired as Texas Field Organizer for Witness to Innocence. Hedayati participated in the 2005 alternative spring break as a high school senior. 


Students will gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying and media relations. There will be opportunities to write press releases, organize a press conference with death row exonerees, speak in public, meet with legislators or their aides, and organize a rally at the capitol.



The “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” was started by Texas Moratorium Network in 2004. It is now organized and co-sponsored by Students Against the Death Penalty, TMN, Witness to Innocence, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin chapter, Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing, Campus Progress, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights and Amnesty International.


This is an historical echo to what happened in 1964 when people came down to the South during the Civil Rights Movement to register people to vote during Freedom Summer. This is similar to what was going on back then, but here the issue is organizing against the death penalty. Many young people from across the nation and throughout Texas have come to Austin over the years to learn about the injustice of the death penalty, train to take action to oppose executions and gain experience lobbying about the death penalty.


There is no participation fee for the “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break” except for those people who need housing. Housing is $25, which gets participants a place to sleep for four nights in a dormitory or hotel room. Participation for students who do not need housing, because they live in Austin or are making their own housing arrangements is free, but everyone is asked to register so the organizers know how many people to expect. Participants are expected to travel to Austin at their own expense and pay for their meals and incidental expenses while in Austin. In their free time, students who are interested in music and film will have time to attend some of the events of the world-renowned SXSW festival.


To register for the “Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break”, people may visit: http://www.springbreakalternative.org/deathpenalty




Judge Charlie Baird will speak at the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break on Monday, March 14, at 7 PM (room to announced). Judge Baird will be on a panel with former Bexar District Attorney Sam Millsap. 
The Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break, running from March 14 to the 18th, is a unique opportunity for people interested in human rights and the death penalty to spend their spring break learning from and working with experts on the death penalty as well as with six former death row exonerees who will be in attendance. To register, click here.
Judge Charlie retired from the 299th District Court of Travis County on December 31, 2010. Previously, Judge Baird served on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’ highest criminal appellate court, from 1990 through 1998. Judge Baird handled many appeals as a judge on the CCA. Judge Baird was the first judge in the nation to preside over a posthumous exoneration, that of Timothy Cole, an innocent person who died while in prison before he could prove his innocence. In 2010 Judge Baird heard testimony by attorneys for the family of Todd Willingham who were seeking a ruling on whether Willingham was wrongfully convicted. The hearing was stopped by a higher court decision and Judge Baird was not allowed to issue a decision. 
Judge Baird was a visiting professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, and his alma mater, South Texas College of Law where he received the Student Bar Association’s Professor Excellence Award for 2004-2005 and 1999-2000. Judge Baird taught criminal law and procedure, criminal trial advocacy, capital punishment, and appellate and post-conviction remedies. And, while at Texas Tech, he supervised the students in the West Texas Innocence Project.
Judge Baird earned his Master of Laws in Judicial Process from The University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. In 1993, he was named the distinguished alumnus of South Texas College of Law where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1980. Judge Baird earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 1976.
Judge Baird has been a frequent speaker on criminal justice topics across Texas and has appeared on ABC, CNN, NBC and PBS. His scholarly articles appear in numerous publications including Stanford Law & Policy Review, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, South Texas College of Law Review, St. Mary’s Law Journal, Texas Bar Journal, and The Texas Law Reporter. In 2000 he testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on DNA testing and adequate representation in criminal cases.
Judge Baird’s wife, Kristin, is also an attorney; they are the proud parents of Olivia Faith and William Forrest Baird. A ferocious champion of the legal rights of the individual, Judge Baird considers his greatest contribution to be his unwavering and devoted defense of the accused.

People working to stop executions in Texas will spend the day on Wednesday, March 16, lobbying Texas legislators during the “Day of Innocence” and Statewide Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty. Register online.

Special guests on the “Day of Innocence” include six death row exonerees who together spent almost 50 years on death row for crimes they did not commit:  Anthony GravesClarence BrandleyShujaa GrahamRon KeineGary Drinkard and Albert Burrell.

“It is time for the Texas Legislature to pass reforms that will protect innocent people from the injustice of wrongful convictions and to stop executions with a moratorium on executions. Participants in the Lobby Day will also advocate for the two bills filed to abolish the death penalty or any death penalty related bill that is important to them, such as the bill requiring separate trials in death penalty cases or the Law of Parties bill”, said Scott Cobb, president of Texas Moratorium Network.
People interested in participating in the Lobby Day can register online. Registration is not mandatory, but it helps organizers schedule appointments with legislators.
The “Day of Innocence” will be a day we will always remember, a day when we stood side by side fighting against the death penalty with people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. Don’t be one of those people who one day “shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here” and fought with us on the Day of Innocence”, said Cobb.
The “Day of Innocence” on March 16 will conclude with a rally at 5:30 PM on the South Steps of the Capitol.

Schedule for the Statewide Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty and “Day of Innocence” – Wednesday March 16, 2011

The main base of operations for the “Day of Innocence” will be room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol

For more information, contact Scott Cobb at 512 552 4743

8 :00 – 9:00 AM Check-in and Meet and Greet at the Texas Capitol in room E2.026. Legislators, staff members, everyone coming to Austin for the Lobby Day and anyone at the capitol and the general public is welcome to attend and meet death row exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell who all spent many years on death row for crimes they did not commit.
9 – 10 AM Lobby Training. People coming for Lobby Day will be trained and given assignments. People who received training before Lobby Day can begin lobbying. Location: Room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol.
Sometime during the day while the House and Senate are in session the death row exonerees may be recognized and honored with a resolution in the Texas House and/or Senate. 
10 AM – Noon Visit legislative offices to lobby legislators and their staff.
Noon – 1 PM Lunch on your own. There is a cafeteria in the Texas Capitol.
1 – 2 PM  Press conference and group photo in Texas House Speaker’s Committee Room 2W.6 at Texas Capitol with death row exonerees and others.
2 – 3 More lobbying visits to legislative offices. 
3:00 – 4:30 PM Panel Discussion on “Innocence and the Death Penalty” with six death row exonerees, Location: room E2.026 in the Texas Capitol. Panelists and guests include exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell who are all innocent people who spent many years on death row for crimes they did not commit.
4:30:- 5:00 Set up for rally and final legislative office visits.
5:30 – 7:00 “Day of Innocence” Statewide Rally Against the Death Penalty on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol. Rally Speakers and other special guests include death row exonerees Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell.
Lobby Day has been organized since 2003 by several organizations working together, the same ones who also organize the annual “March to Abolish the Death Penalty” each October: Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin chapter, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty.
Organizations that would like to participate or co-sponsor the Lobby Day can email admin@texasmoratorium.org or call 512-961-6389.

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