March e-letter:

Greeting moratorium supporters!

We have a very important action, and results of a survey to report this month. 

First, the action:

March 12 is Primary Election Day. Immediately following the closing of the polls at 7 pm, each political Party in each precinct in Texas will hold its Precinct Meeting. If you vote in the primaries, either early on on March 12, please go to the Precinct meeting of the Party for which you voted, (usually held at the precinct polling location), and submit a Resolution for a Moratorium on Executions in Texas (available at: ) 

If the resolution passes at this meeting it will go to the County, or Senatorial District, meeting, and ideally you will get yourself elected to be a delegate to that meeting. If the resolution passes then, it goes to the State Party Convention; again, ideally you will get yourself elected to be a delegate to that Convention (and even more ideally, get yourself elected to the Resolutions Committee!) This is a somewhat bureaucratic process, but it is an important way for us to demonstrate grassroots support for the moratorium. If you have any questions, email Brian Evans at 

Now, the results of our Survey

We contacted more than 300 candidates running in this year s election and asked them to respond to questions regarding capital punishment. We concentrated on races in which there is a contested primary on March 12, although we made sure to send a survey to all the statewide candidates no matter whether they have a primary opponent. As of March 6, 2002 thirty candidates responded to our survey. We have yet to receive responses from gubernatorial candidates Tony Sanchez and Dan Morales, but we know from the recent debates that Tony Sanchez is for the mental retardation bill and against a moratorium, and we know that Dan Morales is against them all. 

We will soon post the survey and responses to our web site at Below is a summary of the results so far. By November, we hope to have all the statewide and legislative incumbents and challengers on record.

Candidates were asked to answer yes, (Y) no, (N) or don t know (DN) to five questions regarding their support for:

1) Banning the execution of people with mental retardation.
2) Banning the execution of juvenile offenders.
3) Giving juries the option of a life without parole sentence.
4) Creating a Capital Punishment Commission to study the death penalty system.
5) Supporting a two-year moratorium on executions.

As expected, most Republicans who responded to the survey support the death penalty and oppose a moratorium. However, there are two major exceptions: Gary Gates of Rosenberg running for State Representative, District #28 and Douglas G. Deffenbaugh for U.S. Senate. Both answered yes to all five questions. Every Green candidate who responded reiterated their opposition to the death penalty and their support for a moratorium. Many reminded us that abolition of the death penalty is in the national Green Party platform. Most Democrats who responded support death penalty reform and a moratorium although there are a couple still sitting on the fence on this issue. The Libertarian candidate for governor also supports a moratorium.


1. State Rep. District #28 Gary Gates, Republican
Y, Y, Y, Y, Y
Note: No Democratic candidates are running in this race. 

2. Travis County Treasurer Dolores Ortega Carter, Democrat
Y, Y, Y, Y, Y

3. Governor Bill Lyon, Democrat
Y, DN, Y, Y, DN

4. State Rep. District # 72 Jeri Slone, Democrat

5. State Senator, District #17 Ronnie Harrison, Democrat
Y, DN, Y, Y, Y

6. District Court Judge 403rd District – Brenda Kennedy, Democrat
As a judge, she explained she could only answer #4 and her answer is Y.

7. State Rep. District #8 Herman Hans Reicher, Democrat
A big thanks to you for carrying on your beliefs that I believe in time that will be proven to be the right position. 

8. State Rep. District #8 Charles Nichols, Democrat
Did not answer survey. Wrote a letter that he is re-thinking views on death penalty; used to be against.

9. State Senator, District #6 Mario Gallegos, Jr., Democrat
Y, Y, Y, Y, Y

10. State Representative, District #51 Eddie Rodriquez, Democrat
I do not believe in the death penalty for anyone. I would support a complete moratorium. 

11. State Representative, District #72 Tom Goff, Republican

12. State Representative, District #40 Eddy Gonzalez, Democrat

13. Texas Railroad Commission, Sherry Boyles
Says death penalty issues are not relevant to office

14. Chair, Travis County Democratic Party Scott Ozmun

15. U.S. Senate – Lawrence Cranberg, Republican
Did not reply to survey; sent copy of editorial he wrote in the Houston Chronicle supporting the death penalty in cases where the victim is a witness to a crime.

16. State Representative, District 148 Jessica Farrar, Democrat
I voted in favor of HB 236. (MR bill)
I also voted in favor of HB 2048. (Juvenile offenders bill)
I also voted for SB 85. (LWOP)
I support a state public defender program. The system in place today is underfunded and inadequate to result in a fair verdict. 
I believe I signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation. (moratorium bill).

17. State Representative, District 58 Greg Kauffman, Democrat

18. Texas Supreme Court Place 3 William Moody, Democrat
Comment: There may be some cases that are so clean cut and have exhausted their appellate remedies that a two year delay would be unreasonable. Cases where mandates of death are signed and execution dates already set should be looked at on a case by case basis. 

19. State Senator, District 30 – Craig Estes, Republican

20. State Senator, District 14 Gonzalo Barrientos, Democrat

21. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 3 Julius Wittier, Democrat
No reply to survey; sent letter informing us of address change

22. Railroad Commissioner – Nazirite R. Flores-Perez, Libertarian

23. Governor Jeff Daiell, Libertarian
Y- as part of a general ban. 
Y- as part of a general ban. 
Y – !
N Such a commission isn t needed to establish the obvious: Perfection is not achievable and execution is irreversible. 
Y If this were the only way to stop executions. 
Additional Comments: Let me be frank I have no sympathy for murderers but I will not risk executing an innocent individual. If elected, I will use every legal means to halt or delay executions if there is any reasonable doubt of guilt. 

24. Attorney General David Cobb, Green
Comments: NOTE: The Green Party national platform explicitly calls to abolish capital punishment. See 

25. Agricultural Commissioner – Jane Elioseff, Green
I oppose capital punishment, period. Violence by the state in response to violence by individuals is not justice, it is a perpetuation of the problem. 

26. Lt. Governor, Nathalie Paravicini, Green
The Green Party opposes the death penalty. It does not act as a deterrent for crime, on the contrary, the death penalty has been shown to condone violence and make it an acceptable solution to conflict. Aside from this position, the Green Party finds the Texas criminal justice system “neither just nor a system”, to paraphrase numerous personalities who have spoken on the issue. 

27. Governor, Rahul Mahajan, Green
The only one of these questions about which I have some misgivings is the question of Life Without Parole. Just as much as the death sentence, this seems an admission that the goal of rehabilitation no longer plays any part in the criminal justice system. I understand that most people, when regarding the most heinous crimes, consider it the only acceptable alternative to execution. I am not sure that in society as it now exists there is a better alternative, but we ought to work toward creating a genuine possibility of rehabilitation.

The Green Party, in its platform adopted in the 2000 political campaign, opposes capital punishment under any circumstances.

I don’t think additional comment is needed, except to say that if elected I plan to work very closely with grassroots groups like the TMN on the issues of concern to them. 

28. State Senator, District 16 Jan Frederiksen, Democrat

29. U.S. Senate – Douglas G. Deffenbaugh, Republican
Comments: As a Roman Catholic, I have a very specific position that is in tune with our
Church that basically states that it should seldom if ever be used. One example might be a terrorist that would make us vulnerable to future hostage taking to liberate him. Perhaps, even a killer of a policeman. I will attemptto answer your questionnaire in light of this:
3. Yes, absolutely , I would like to emphasize that my father was an FBI Agent and I am very pro-law and order, and life without parole would keep known, convicted murders from preying on society.
4. Yes, although if capital punishment was seldom used, then this would probably be unnecessary.

30. Comptroller – Marty Akins, Democrat


Thank you for your continued support and activism, and we look forward to building support for a moratorium on executions in 2002!

The Texas Moratorium Network

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