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 dates for this year’s Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break are March 14-18, 2011. You can register by clicking here. Now is an important time in the fight 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. Attend our alternative spring break and help us end the death penalty in Texas – the number one execution state in the United States. The event includes a statewide “Day of Innocence” Lobby Day and Rally Against the Death Penalty on Thursday March 17 at 5:30 at the Texas Capitol.

We are excited about this year’s program (see schedule here), which includes attending the World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival of a new documentary about the Todd Willingham case, plus great panelists including several people exonerated from death row, such as Anthony Graves who was released in October 2010 after 18 years on death row in Texas and Clarence Brandley who spent ten years on death row in Texas before proving his innocence. Other speakers include Sam Millsap, a former elected District Attorny in Texas who now opposes the death penalty because he believes an executed person named Ruben Cantu whom he prosecuted may have been innocent.

Alternative Spring Breaks are designed to give college and high school students something more meaningful to do during their week off, rather than just spending time at the beach or sitting at home catching up on school work. The specific purpose of the Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break is to bring students together for five days of anti-death penalty activism, education and fun. This is the place to be if you want to become a part of the next generation of human rights leaders. Go to the beach to change your state of mind for a week, come here to change the world forever

We will provide participants with workshops led by experienced, knowledgeable presenters who will teach them skills that they can use to go back home and set up new anti-death penalty student organizations or improve ones that may already exist. The skills participants will learn can also be used in other issues besides the death penalty. Students will gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying, preparing a public rally and media relations. During the week, students will immediately put what they learn into action during activities such as a Death Penalty Issues Lobby Day and a public rally at the Texas Capitol. There will be opportunities to write press releases, speak in public, meet with legislators or their aides, and carry out a public rally.

In your free time, Austin has a lot to offer for fun, including the SXSW film, music and interactive festival that takes place the same week as our alternative spring break.

Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break is a program of Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin Chapter, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center. Co-sponsors include Campus Progress, Witness to Innocence , Amnesty International, and Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing.

Call Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and urge him to sign the bill to end the death penalty.

Chicago Office: 312-814-2121. Springfield Office: 217-782-0244

Texans are planning to help convince Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Texans will be calling the Governor of Illinois to urge him to sign the bill to repeal the death penalty.

If Illinois abolishes the death penalty, it will have a major impact in other death penalty states, including Texas. Illinois started with a moratorium on executions in 2000 and now Illinois may abolish the death penalty with just a signature from the governor.

Illinois is just one signature away from becoming the 16th state without the death penalty. The General Assembly passed legislation to repeal the death penalty on January 11, 2011. Now the bill is awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.

Governor Quinn has said he encourages people with opinions to contact his office. In the past, he has indicated support for the death penalty, while also expressing concerns about the problems with the system. You can remind him that regardless of his position on the death penalty, Illinois’ history has made it clear that the system is broken. Illinois legislators decided the system can’t be fixed, so they voted to repeal the death penalty. Illinois can no longer afford to keep the costly and error-ridden death penalty.

Please call Governor Quinn to tell him you want him to sign the death penalty repeal bill.

You can say, “I want to encourage Gov. Quinn to sign the legislation to end the death penalty.”

Chicago Office – 312-814-2121

Springfield Office – 217-782-0244

If you don’t get through to a person or voicemail, please try again.

The Governor’s staff won’t ask you for reasons (they only want to know if you support or oppose), but if you’d like talking points or more information, visit the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty website.

The Texas groups participating in the “Texas for Illinois Day” have set a goal to confirm at least 200 calls to Governor Quinn’s office. We need you to let us know you made the call.

After you call, and you can even call both numbers, please send a quick email to (texasforillinois@gmail.com) or leave a comment on the facebook event page with the word “CONNECTED” in the subject line if you actually spoke with someone, and “VOICEMAIL” if you were able to leave a message. If you get a busy signal, please keep trying until you connect with either a person or leave a message. If anything interesting happens with your calls, please be sure to let us know so that we can pass that on to our colleagues in Illinois.

We encourage any and all Texas groups to participate in the “Texas for Illinois Day”, even ones that don’t primarily work on the death penalty issue, as long as your group wants to help convince the Illinois governor to sign the repeal bill. Currently, the groups participating include Texas Moratorium Network, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin chapter, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Denton chapter, and Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center.

INCENDIARY is the true story of the conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the arson murder of his three children in 1991, and of the resulting scientific, legal and political firestorm that rages today. Equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama, INCENDIARY documents the haunted legacy of a prosecution built on ‘folklore’.

The world premiere will be at the SXSW Film Festival, Saturday March 12 at 4:30,Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas.

Additional screenings:

Thursday March 17 at 12:00PM, Rollins Theatre, 701 West Riverside Dr.

Saturday March 19, 5:30PM, Rollins Theatre, 701 West Riverside Dr

Texas Moratorium Network’s Scott Cobb and Hooman Hedayati of Witness to Innocence went to the Texas Capitol on Feb 16, 2011 with Lawrence Foster and Kenneth Foster Sr (grandfather and father of Kenneth Foster, Jr) to meet with legislators about a bill to require separate rials in capital cases. See photos here. Kenneth Foster Jr’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2007. He had been convicted and sentenced to death in a dual trial with his co-defendant. Governor Rick Perry said at the time of commuting the death sentence that the Legislature should take up the issue of requiring separate trials in death penalty cases. Perry said the dual trial issue was the reason he commuted the death sentence of Foster.

We also went with the Fosters to speak to Danielle Dirks’ capital punishment class at UT-Austin.

And while at the capitol, we met the family of Tim Adams as they were meeting legislators to urge support for clemency for Tim, who is scheduled for execution in Texas Feb 22, 2011. They had earlier in the day held a press conference at the capitol to urge clemency for Timothy Adams.

Call Texas Governor Perry to register your opposition to today’s execution in Texas of Michael Wayne Hall, who is mentally impaired. 512 463 2000. Email Perry through his website here.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Attorneys for a North Texas man set to die for the 1998 torture-slaying of a 19-year-old mentally challenged woman exactly 13 years ago Tuesday looked to the U.S. Supreme Court to block his execution, the first of the year in the nation’s busiest death penalty state.
Michael Wayne Hall, 31, faces lethal injection for the abduction and murder of Amy Robinson. He was one of two men convicted in her 1998 slaying. Hall’s partner, Robert Neville, was put to death five years ago.
Lawyers for Hall argued he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under a Supreme Court ruling barring capital punishment for those with an IQ under 70.
“Mr. Hall’s history of mental retardation reaches back to his childhood,” attorney Bryce Benjet said.
In appeals, Benjet questioned an assessment from one mental health expert who shifted from an earlier finding and said Hall was not mentally impaired. Three others who examined Hall said he was impaired.
Hall’s lawyers went to the Supreme Court a day after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — the state’s highest criminal court — refused to stop the punishment. Similar appeals have failed in other courts.
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