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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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