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.

From the AP, Saturday, November 13th, 2010:

Antonin Scalia, 74, the longest-serving current justice, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, and Stephen Breyer, 72, appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton, shared the stage in front of a crowd of thousands during a West Texas event organized by Texas Tech University Law School.

They particularly clashed on the question of capital punishment.

Scalia argued that while there’s room for debate about whether the death penalty is a “good idea or a bad idea,” it is not cruel and unusual punishment.

“There’s not an ounceworth of room for debate as to whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because, at the time the Eighth Amendment was adopted — the cruel and unusual punishments clause — it was the only punishment for a felony. It was the definition of a felony. It’s why we have Western movies because horse thieving was a felony.”

Breyer said 200 years ago, people thought flogging at a whipping post was not cruel and unusual.

“And indeed there were whipping posts where people were flogged virtually to death up until the middle of the 19th century,” he said. “If we had a case like that today I’d like to see how you’d vote.”

The two bandied about other issues, including Brown vs. The Board of Education, the landmark high court decision in the 1950s that outlawed school segregation case, cable television rulings, and how they view cases that come before them.

Later, Scalia returned to the issue of flogging, saying it’s “stupid” but “not unconstitutional, which is stupid. There’s a lot of stuff that stupid that’s not constitutional.”

The Texas Forensic Science Commission has rescheduled its next meeting on the Willingham case for January 7, 2011 in Austin. They are expected to hear testimony at this meeting from fire experts. At the last meeting, the scientists on the commission rejected a draft report written by chair John Bradley.

January 7th, 2010 – Willingham Expert Panel

Central Services Building – 1711 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin, TX 78701 – Room 402 (Map).


We are in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help Anthony Graves after his exoneration from Texas death row. We plan to deliver the funds to him before Thanksgiving, which will be his first Thanksgiving celebration as a free man in 18 years. A lot of very generous people have already donated. We thank everyone who has donated so far and we can’t wait to deliver the funds to Anthony. You can still donate.

As of 3 PM today, we had raised $1624 for Anthony Graves.

If you would like to donate to help Anthony Graves, you can make a donation to TMN using a credit card by clicking here.




Or you can send a check to:
Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731
Please note on your check that your donation is for Anthony Graves. If you want to include a short note to Anthony, we will deliver your note along with the check we give him with all the donations. We want to give him the donations before Thanksgiving, but if we receive any donations for him after Thanksgiving, we will send him those donations too.
Donations to Texas Moratorium Network are not tax deductible because our primary mission is to advocate to the Texas Legislature to stop executions.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help Anthony, you can make a donation to the 501 (c) (3) organization Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center.

On October 27, Anthony Graves became the 12th person exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sent to Texas death row. Anthony is a completely innocent man who spent a total of 18 years locked up for a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with. Twelve of those years were spent on Texas death row in a tiny cell having his food shoved through a small slit in the door. The other years were spent in jail awaiting retrial and facing the prospect of again being sentenced to death. Anthony is now back in the loving embrace of his family and friends and soon he will enjoy his first Thanksgiving holiday as a free man in 18 years.


Texas Moratorium Network would like to help Anthony transition to his new life. We have spoken to one of his attorneys and she expects a legal fight before Anthony claims any compensation from Texas for his years of wrongful conviction. In fact, it will likely take quite a while before he receives any money from the State. Upon his release on October 27, he was only given a few hundred dollars.
We asked his lawyer how we could help. She told us that he is in need of the basics of life, including new clothes, pocket money, and all the other normal things that a person would need whose nightmarish false conviction at the hands of the state has just ended. He needs to get on with his life and with your help we can give him a little help making the adjustment to freedom.
So, we would like to ask everyone to help us help Anthony Graves. We would like to be able to raise and send him $1,000 before Thanksgiving. If we raise more, then that would be even more helpful for him. If you would like to help, you can send a donation and we will pass it along to Anthony. $1,000 is not much in the great scheme of things, but it will help Anthony at a time when he could really use it.
In 2004, after Ernest Willis was exonerated and released from Texas death row, Texas Moratorium Network asked our supporters to help Ernest. We were able to raise $1,000 in a short time and send it to Ernest in 2004. We received the below message from Ernest Willis after he received our check for $1,000 in 2004.
“Hello, I do appreciate the donations & your time & help in getting the donations. Yes, the state of Texas gave me $100.00 when I was released & that was all. I am doing okay since my release & am very happy to be free. I have not had any problems adjusting to the life out here.
Again -I do appreciate the help, it is greatly appreciated as I do need it”.
Thank You,
Ernest Willis
Now, it is time to help another innocent person just released from Texas Death Row.


If you are unable to afford a donation to Anthony right now, please keep him and his family in your thoughts, especially when you gather your family around the table on Thanksgiving Day.
Thank you,

Your friends at Texas Moratorium Network

Below is a photo of a typical cell on Texas death row. Anthony Graves lived in such a cell even though he was an innocent person.


photoJohnny Hanson Chronicle
Barry Scheck, with former Gov. Mark White at left, calls Friday in Houston for a moratorium on executions in Texas and says Gov. Rick Perry “should admit that there was a mistake” in the 2000 execution of Claude Jones. The inmate’s son, Duane Jones, stands at right.

Texas Moratorium Network has known for a long time that the upcoming legislative session would be a ripe time for death penalty reforms (in part because of the case of Todd Willingham, and now the case of Claude Jones, and don’t forget Kenneth Foster, Jr whose death sentence commutation in 2007 resulted in the Texas House passing a bill to exclude the death penalty as an option in Law of Parties cases in which the accused did not kill anyone). Now it looks like others are catching up with our opinion that the time to push for major death penalty reforms, including a moratorium on executions is now.

In Spring 2011, Texas Moratorium Network will hold a death penalty issues lobby day as we have during every legislative session since 2003. In 2009, it was the largest, most effective anti-death penalty lobby day ever. We look forward to bringing the message to legislators in the coming months that the public is concerned that innocent people are at risk of being executed, there have already been wrongful executions in Texas and action is required now.

From the Houston Chronicle:

It was, at the very least, an odd political sight: former Texas Gov. Mark White, who had sent almost a score of killers to their executions, rubbing shoulders with New York lawyer Barry Scheck at a downtown press conference.
Scheck is co-director of the Innocence Project, an organization whose goal is to free the incarcerated innocent — and to achieve at least a temporary halt to executions in the United States.
Uniting these unlikely allies was this week’s revelation through DNA testing that key evidence that led to the execution of career criminal Claude Jones for a 1989 San Jacinto County robbery-murder was faulty.
White, who insists he never sent an innocent man to his death, termed the events leading to Jones’ 2000 execution “every governor’s worst horror,” and called on the coming Legislature to implement wide-ranging changes in the way courts and governors handle death cases.
Foes of capital punishment believe the cases of Jones, executed after then-Gov. George Bush was given an incomplete report about the career criminal’s request for a stay, and Cameron Willingham, who was executed in 2004 on the basis of flawed investigations of a Corsicana house fire in which his three children died, will galvanize legislators and the public to demand reform.
Adding fuel to incipient anti-death penalty fervor, they believe, is the recent case of Anthony Graves, who was exonerated after spending 18 years on death row for a Brenham-area murder he did not commit.

No parole now an option

“It’s just mind-boggling,” said Houston state Sen. Rodney Ellis, who as acting governor oversaw three executions while Bush was on the presidential campaign trail.
Ellis is optimistic that legislators will enact “common-sense reforms” to improve eyewitness identification procedures, record interrogations and provide more money for indigent defense programs.
Five years ago, Texas offered capital juries the option of assessing convicted killers life without parole.
Major Texas newspapers, including the rock-ribbed conservative Dallas Morning News, have weighed in against capital punishment. Significantly, prosecutors have moved away from seeking death sentences.
This year, Harris County prosecutors sought – and juries awarded – death in just two cases.
Rob Owen, director of the University of Texas’ capital punishment clinic, agreed.
“There’s inevitably more public skepticism about a system that has produced these highly publicized mistakes,” Owen said.

Bush unaware of request

The Jones case was the latest in a series that have raised questions about capital punishment.
One day before his execution, Jones petitioned Bush for a stay so that a hair found at the murder scene – the only physical evidence prosecutors had that linked Jones to the crime – could be subjected to DNA testing.
But Bush’s staff counsel, Claudia Nadig, recommended in a memorandum that the governor reject the stay request, never mentioning the request for DNA testing.
Scheck on Friday contended that Bush, who had earlier endorsed post-conviction DNA testing in questioned cases, likely would have granted the stay for testing. Recently completed DNA testing of the hair showed that it came not from Jones but from the victim, Point Blank liquor store owner Allen Hilzendager.
Richard Dieter, director of the national Death Penalty Information Center, said innocence campaigns beginning in the 1990s contributed to a drop in death sentences nationally. Fewer such sentences meant less enthusiasm by district attorneys for seeking death, Dieter said.

Some still see support

Casey O’Brien, for 26 years a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, believes Texans will still support capital punishment “in the right case.”
But he acknowledged that prosecutors less frequently seek death penalties in murder cases involving robberies. “Aggravated robbery cases are off the board – unless they’re serial killers,” he said. “You’d try a case like that 15 years ago and you’d get the death penalty.”

Process of law respected

Dennis Longmire, a Sam Houston State University criminal justice professor, is optimistic that publicity surrounding claims of wrongful convictions in capital cases will “resonate” with legislators. But the impact on the general public, he believes, may be “disheartening.”
“I think there’s a greater sense among elected public officials, whatever their opinion of the death penalty, to have a fundamental respect for the orderly process of law,” he said. “I think public officials are more responsible than the common person.”
Longmire said surveys he conducted several years ago showed that 90 percent of respondents who favored the death penalty believed that, in the state’s last 100 executions, an innocent person had been put to death.
“In talking to students,” he said, “they say maybe those who were executed were innocent of their crimes but they were probably guilty of something.”

We are in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help Anthony Graves after his exoneration from Texas death row. We plan to deliver the funds to him before Thanksgiving, which will be his first Thanksgiving celebration as a free man in 18 years. A lot of very generous people have already donated. We thank everyone who has donated so far and we can’t wait to deliver the funds to Anthony. You can still donate.

As of 4:41 PM today, we had raised $1562 for Anthony Graves.

If you would like to donate to help Anthony Graves, you can make a donation to TMN using a credit card by clicking here.




Or you can send a check to:
Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731
Please note on your check that your donation is for Anthony Graves. If you want to include a short note to Anthony, we will deliver your note along with the check we give him with all the donations. We want to give him the donations before Thanksgiving, but if we receive any donations for him after Thanksgiving, we will send him those donations too.
Donations to Texas Moratorium Network are not tax deductible because our primary mission is to advocate to the Texas Legislature to stop executions.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help Anthony, you can make a donation to the 501 (c) (3) organization Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center.

On October 27, Anthony Graves became the 12th person exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sent to Texas death row. Anthony is a completely innocent man who spent a total of 18 years locked up for a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with. Twelve of those years were spent on Texas death row in a tiny cell having his food shoved through a small slit in the door. The other years were spent in jail awaiting retrial and facing the prospect of again being sentenced to death. Anthony is now back in the loving embrace of his family and friends and soon he will enjoy his first Thanksgiving holiday as a free man in 18 years.


Texas Moratorium Network would like to help Anthony transition to his new life. We have spoken to one of his attorneys and she expects a legal fight before Anthony claims any compensation from Texas for his years of wrongful conviction. In fact, it will likely take quite a while before he receives any money from the State. Upon his release on October 27, he was only given a few hundred dollars.
We asked his lawyer how we could help. She told us that he is in need of the basics of life, including new clothes, pocket money, and all the other normal things that a person would need whose nightmarish false conviction at the hands of the state has just ended. He needs to get on with his life and with your help we can give him a little help making the adjustment to freedom.
So, we would like to ask everyone to help us help Anthony Graves. We would like to be able to raise and send him $1,000 before Thanksgiving. If we raise more, then that would be even more helpful for him. If you would like to help, you can send a donation and we will pass it along to Anthony. $1,000 is not much in the great scheme of things, but it will help Anthony at a time when he could really use it.
In 2004, after Ernest Willis was exonerated and released from Texas death row, Texas Moratorium Network asked our supporters to help Ernest. We were able to raise $1,000 in a short time and send it to Ernest in 2004. We received the below message from Ernest Willis after he received our check for $1,000 in 2004.
“Hello, I do appreciate the donations & your time & help in getting the donations. Yes, the state of Texas gave me $100.00 when I was released & that was all. I am doing okay since my release & am very happy to be free. I have not had any problems adjusting to the life out here.
Again -I do appreciate the help, it is greatly appreciated as I do need it”.
Thank You,
Ernest Willis
Now, it is time to help another innocent person just released from Texas Death Row.


If you are unable to afford a donation to Anthony right now, please keep him and his family in your thoughts, especially when you gather your family around the table on Thanksgiving Day.
Thank you,

Your friends at Texas Moratorium Network

Below is a photo of a typical cell on Texas death row. Anthony Graves lived in such a cell even though he was an innocent person.


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