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.
Join the Central Texas Chapter on Thursday, February 17th as we present our 2010 Civil Libertarian of the Year Award to Judge Charlie Baird. Click here for the Facebook event page.


“Thank You Charlie Baird!”
Thursday, February 17th, 6pm, Victory Grill
1104 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX, 78702
Open to the public; no admission charged

Judge Charlie Baird, having stepped down from the 299th District Court of Travis County December 31, 2010, and now entering private practice in the woman-owned Fowler Law Firm, will be honored by the community for his work on the bench.  Judge Baird led the justice system in his work on defending the innocently-incarcerated and with restorative justice solutions. He favored rehabilitative efforts for non-violent offenders not just as a means to give offenders a chance to succeed in life, but to decrease the burden on society and taxpayers. Fair-minded, compassionate and thoughtful, attorneys and defendants alike respected his approach and diligence to due process. He is also the first judge in the nation to preside over a posthumous exoneration, that of Timothy Cole.

The ACLU-TX, Central Texas Chapter is mobilizing the community to honor his work and wish him well as he ventures into the private realm and will present Judge Baird with its “Civil Libertarian of the Year” award for 2010 at this event.  NAACP-Austin, Gray Panthers-Austin, LULAC-District 12, Austin AFL-CIO Council, Witness to Innocence, Black Austin Democrats, Texas Moratorium Network, several law firms and many others are already co-sponsoring this event, and bringing their own accolades to present Judge Baird.   

CO-SPONSOR/DONATION 
All firms, groups and individuals are welcome to contact Debbie Russell, debmocracy@yahoo.com, if they wish to co-sponsor the event as well. Community groups/non-profits need not donate funds to sponsor.
For donating to the event (and becoming a member of ACLU-TX), you can go here, and in the “other” box, type the donation amount plus “for CTCLU Baird event” or one can simply bring a check with them made out to ACLU-TX, or if not wanting to donate to us, write a check to “The Victory Grill.” 

The State of Texas has rejected the application from Anthony Graves to receive compensation for his wrongful conviction and 18 years on Texas death row.

Read more here on the Houston Chronicle:

The Texas Comptroller’s Office has denied state compensation to Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years behind bars before a special prosecutor determined he was innocent and authorities dropped capital murder charges against him, Graves’ attorney said today.

The state determined that Graves, 45, who would have received $1.4 million had he been deemed eligible, should receive nothing because the word “innocence” was not used in the document ordering his release, according to Graves’ attorney, Nicole Casarez.

Casarez said she was informed of the refusal Friday after phoning the comptroller’s office to find out why she hadn’t received a response even though the 45-day limit to act on Graves’ request had lapsed.

A letter e-mailed to Casarez from the comptroller’s office said that the order dismissing the charges must say that Graves is innocent. Casarez said the office should have taken her client’s unique circumstances into consideration.

“I had spoken to so many people who seemed to think it was possible, I did get my hopes up and I am very disappointed,” Casarez said. “I know that he is very disappointed, too.”
Graves can’t seek a pardon from Gov. Rick Perry, Casarez said, because he has nothing to be pardoned for and asking for a pardon would be tantamount to admitting guilt. She said a civil suit seeking compensation was one of several options that would be discussed with attorneys who specialize in that particular type of law.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 overturned Graves’ 1994 conviction for the slaying of a grandmother, her 16-year-old granddaughter and four grandchildren in Somerville, Burleson County.

The appeals court found that the prosecution withheld information from the defense and elicited false testimony.

A new trial was ordered and former Harris County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler took over the case as special prosecutor in 2010. She found the original investigation riddled with errors and recommended to Burleson-Washington County District Attorney Bill Parham that the charges be dropped.

Parham agreed and both said at an October news conference that Graves was innocent.
Casarez said other attorneys had assured her that the comptroller’s office could approve the compensation because of the public statement’s prosecutors had made about his innocence.
“Even though the order didn’t contain those magical words … I was certain the Comptroller’s Office would take a very full look at it,” she said.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Texas Moratorium Network delivered $3,000 to Anthony Graves that we raised from our supporters and friends. Now that the State of Texas is refusing to compensate Anthony, there may be more people who want to make a donation to Anthony, so here is the link to make an online donation by credit card. You may also send a check made out to “Texas Moratorium Network” to 3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251, Austin, Texas 78731. Donations to TMN are not tax-deductible. Please mark on your check that you donation is for Anthony Graves.





KVUE’s Jennie Huerta reported on our delivery of $3,000 in donations we collected from Texas Moratorium Network’s supporters and friends from across Texas, other U.S. states and other countries. Scott Cobb, president of TMN, and friends from Campaign to End the Death Penalty and Witness to Innocence delivered the donations to Anthony on Saturday, November 20. Watch the video on YouTube.

photo
Mayra Beltran Chronicle

Timothy Adams’ parents, Columbus and Wilma Adams, and his brother Chadrick, are among those asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to intercede, something the board has only done twice during Gov. Rick Perry’s tenure.

From the Houston Chronicle:

In a session fraught with emotion and tears, family and friends of killer Timothy Wayne Adams on Tuesday publicly called on the state’s pardons board to spare the life of the one-time security guard who is to be executed later this month for the murder of his 19-month-old son.
The public plea came one day after the Texas Defender Service formally asked the board to recommend that Gov. Rick Perrycommute the 42-year-old man’s sentence to life in prison. During Perry’s tenure, the board only twice has recommended commutation, and the governor on both occasions allowed the executions to proceed.
Defender Service lawyer Katherine Black said Adams has exhausted his court appeals.
“My grandson meant the world to me,” said the killer’s father, careerHouston firefighter Columbus Adams. “The family and I have been suffering tremendously from that day to this day. In dealing with my son, I told him I would be with him to the end. He has been remorseful from day one.”
Both the elder Adams and his wife, Wilma, said they have forgiven their son.
“I would ask the governor and the board to, just for a moment, try to put themselves in my place and see how they would feel,” Wilma Adams said. “We all make terrible mistakes, but God is a forgiving God and we all need to learn to forgive. Taking Timothy’s life is not going to bring back my grandson.”
The condemned man’s parents said they visit him as often as once a week, and as relatives, church colleagues and friends gathered at the Adams’ northeast Houston home, a death row photo of the killer stood in a place of honor on a living room table.
Adams is set to die Feb. 22 for the Feb. 20, 2002 murder of Timothy Adams Jr., whom he shot during a standoff with police at his home. The police siege grew out of a dispute between Adams and his wife, Emma, who was in the process of moving out of the couple’s residence. During the episode, Adams also threatened to commit suicide.

Timothy Adams is scheduled to die in Texas by lethal injection on Feb. 22. Today, his lawyers, family members and three of the jurors who sentenced him to death sent a clemency petition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Adams and his supporters say that at his original trial, jurors never heard mitigating information about his past that could have changed their sentencing decision.

From the Texas Tribune:

He was an Army veteran and a Houston security guard who had never been arrested until February 2002, when a fight with his wife sent Timothy Adams into a suicidal spiral. During a stand-off with police, Adams fatally shot his 19-month-old son twice in the chest — landing him a spot on death row.

Adams is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22. Today, his lawyers, family members and three of the jurors who sentenced him to death sent a clemency petition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and to Gov. Rick Perry, asking them to commute Adams’ sentence to life in prison. Adams and his supporters say that at his original trial, jurors never heard mitigating information about his past that could have changed their sentencing decision.

Jurors Rebecca Hayes, Ngoc Duong and Kathryn Starling said had they known more about Adams’ religious background and his hard-working, family-oriented character, they would not have sentenced him to death. “Those deliberations were the most emotional experience of my life, and I have carried the guilt around for years knowing that I sentenced Adams, a man who had done wrong but who was otherwise a good, religious, and hard-working person, to death,” Hayes said in a sworn statement.

Columbus Adams, Timothy Adams’ father and a veteran Houston firefighter, said the loss of their grandson was tragedy enough for their family. Losing his son, he said in a press statement, would only cause more anguish. “We pray that God will fill Governor Perry’s heart with compassion. If not for Tim, then at least for our family.”

A new documentary entitled “Incendiary” about the Todd Willingham case will have its world premiere at the 2011 SXSW film festival. We will make a trip to the premiere with the participants of the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break.

Watch an excerpt sequence at the Texas Tribune.
Check out the official website for the film.
Like the facebook page for the film
Follow the film on twitter.

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. A potential landmark death penalty case, Willingham’s execution based upon junk science begs re-examinations of other arson convictions, criminal prosecution for obstructors of due process, and a re-evaluation of the law’s ultimate punishment. Equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama, INCENDIARY documents the haunted legacy of a prosecution built on ‘folklore’.

The filmmakers are Austin’s own Steve Mims and Joe Bailey. Steve Mims’s award-winning shorts and features have screened in festivals and on television. He teaches at UT Austin. INCENDIARY is UT Law graduate Joe Bailey, Jr.’s first feature-length film. He works as a cinematographer and sound recordist in Austin.

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