Tuesday March 24, 2009
Texas State Capitol
11th and Congress
People from across Texas are coming to Austin on Tuesday, March 24, for a Death Penalty Reform Lobby Day to speak with legislators about the injustice of the Texas death penalty system. Issues to be discussed include the risk of executing an innocent person (HB788), the need for a moratorium on executions (HB 913, HJR 24), abolition of the death penalty (HB 297, HB 682), the Law of Parties (HB 304, HB 2267), and impeaching Sharon Keller (HR 480).
Please register to let us know you are interested in coming to Lobby Day on March 24. Registration is not mandatory, but it will help us make plans if we know how many people to expect. You can also just show up at any of the day’s events.
The Lobby Day will include a press conference at 1 PM and a rally on the South Steps of the Capitol at 5:30. Many family members of people currently and formerly on death row plan to participate in Lobby Day events.
Advocating an end to death sentences under the Law of Parties is the primary focus of the Lobby Day. In 2007, the death sentence of Kenneth Foster was commuted to life by Governor Perry. Foster had been sentenced to death under the Law of Parties even though he never killed anyone. Family members of Kenneth Foster, Jeff Wood and others convicted under the Law of Parties will meet with members of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and other legislators to urge them to approve HB 2267 and HB 304, both of which would end the death penalty under the Law of Parties.
A group of citizen lobbyists will also meet with members of the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence to urge them to approve HR 480, which would create a House select committee to determine if Sharon Keller should be impeached. Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, has until March 24 to send her response to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding charges that she violated her judicial duties by declining to accept an after-hours appeal from a death row inmate in 2007.
Jeanette Popp, whose daughter was murdered in Austin in 1988, will participate in Lobby Day. Two innocent men were convicted of the murder of Ms. Popp’s daughter. Ms Popp’s new book, entitled “Mortal Justice”, was published on March 1, 2009. Her book tells the story of her daughter’s murder, the wrongful convictions of two innocent men, their exonerations, and the eventual trial and conviction of the real killer. Ms Popp visited the real killer in jail prior to his trial and told him that she did not want him to receive a death sentence. He was sentenced to life.
The death penalty was abolished by New Mexico just last week.
Lobby Day Schedule
10 AM – Noon: Lobbying Training Workshop Location:
University of Texas at Austin Sanchez Building (College of Education) in the Cissy McDaniel Parker Dean’s Conference Room. This is a short 7-8 minute walk from the capitol. Google map of route from capitol to training location.
1 PM: Press Conference in the House Speaker’s Committee Room 2W.6 in the Capitol
2 – 5 PM: Group lobbying visits to legislative offices
5:30 PM: Rally on the South Steps of the Capitol
Sponsored by: Sponsored by Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin Chapter, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas CURE, the Student Prison Caucus, the Eye & Tooth Project: Forum Theatre on the Death Penalty, Kids Against the Death Penalty, People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources (PODER) and the Friends Meeting of Austin.
Please call the following members of the subcommittee on Capital Punishment and say that you want the committee to approve HB 2267, the Law of Parties bill.
Members of the Subcommittee on Capital Punishment
Robert Miklos, Chair of Subcommittee on Capital Punishment
District 101 (Dallas County-part)
Email for for Miklos
Phone: 512-463-0464; FAX: 512-463-9295
Wayne Christian, District 09 (Shelby, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine, Jasper Counties)
Email for for Christian
Phone: 512-463-0556; FAX: 512-463-5896
Joseph Moody, District 78 (El Paso County-part)
Email for for Moody
Phone: 512-463-0728; FAX: 512-463-0397
Email for for Gallego
Phone: 512-463-0566; FAX: 512-263-9408
Terri Hodge (Sponsor of Law of Parties bill, so no need to contact her)