Posts by: "Texas Moratorium Network"

BREAKING NEWS: We just heard from Gloria Rubac of the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement that Texas death row inmate Anthony Pierce will not return to death row. Anthony arrived on death row in 1978. Only two other people still on death row in Texas arrived earlier than Anthony.

From Gloria:

“Just got off the telephone with Anthony Pierce’s mother. His attorney called her and told her to sit down that he had some news for her.

After 35 years on death row, after two years awaiting a new sentencing trial at the Harris County Jail, after turning down two requests to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence and life without parole, the D.A. has decided not to retry Anthony so he will automatically receive a life sentence and will not go back to death row, ever!!!

This is a partial victory but it a victory indeed! His mother said she would not live through another trial. She is 83 or 84 years old and not in the best of health, so probably she is right.

A real victory would be for this innocent man to be immediately released, be exonerated, and be given the millions that he is due for being wrongfully locked up since he was 18 years old. Anthony turned 53 years old on July 20.

Anthony, or maybe just his attorney, will be in court Thursday morning to receive this news. Judge Denise Collins, 208th District Court, 17th Floor, Harris County Criminal Justice Center, 1201 Franklin. BE THERE IF YOU CAN TO SUPPORT HIS MOTHER AS SHE RECEIVES THIS GREAT NEWS! Docket call begins at 9am.”

If you want to send Anthony a quick note congratulating him, mail to:
Anthony Pierce, SPN # 00189793
Harris County Jail, 6N1 04A
701 N. San Jacinto
Houston, TX 77002

From Reuters:

A man convicted of fatally shooting three sleeping teenagers in 1998 won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, less than an hour before he was due to be put to death in Texas.

It was the third time that John Balentine, 43, has been granted a stay of execution. Justice Antonin Scalia reviewed Balentine’s emergency appeal and referred the case to the full court for consideration.

Balentine, 43, also got a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court last year on the day he was scheduled for lethal injection, and from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2009 on the day before his execution date.

He appealed to the Supreme Court after the appeals court on Tuesday refused to reconsider his request for a stay.

Balentine argued he deserved a reprieve because an ineffective trial lawyer failed to present mitigating evidence, such as emotional problems and a difficult upbringing, that could have led to a life sentence.

UPDATE August 22 at 6 PM: John Balentine received a stay of execution.

There are now nine executions scheduled in Texas for the remainder of the year, including John Balentine today. There have already been seven executions this year. Last year there were 13 executions in Texas. The most executions in one year was in 2000 when there were 40.

If there are no stays and all the executions take place, the total number of executions in Texas in the modern era will reach 493.

To protest the execution of John Balentine on August 22, call Texas Governor Rick Perry at 512 463 2000.

You can also call any member of the Texas House of Representatives and urge them to support a moratorium on execution in the next legislative session that begins in January 2013.


Scheduled Executions

Scheduled Execution Link Last Name First Name TDCJ Number Date of Birth Race Date Received County
08/22/2012 Offender Information Balentine John 999315 01/30/1969 B 06/11/1999 Potter
09/20/2012 Offender Information Harris Robert 999364 02/28/1972 B 10/06/2000 Dallas
09/25/2012 Offender Information Foster Cleve 999470 10/24/1963 W 03/01/2004 Tarrant
10/10/2012 Offender Information Green Jonathan 999421 12/23/1967 B 07/17/2002 Montgomery
10/18/2012 Offender Information Haynes Anthony 999330 01/22/1979 B 11/03/1999 Harris
10/31/2012 Offender Information Roberts Donnie 999487 02/09/1971 W 10/28/2004 Polk
11/08/2012 Offender Information Swain Mario 999475 02/28/1979 B 04/08/2004 Gregg
11/14/2012 Offender Information Hernandez Ramon 999431 11/8/1971 H 10/21/2002 Bexar
11/15/2012 Offender Information Hughes Preston 939 12/24/1965 B 05/17/1989 Harris
12/12/2012 Offender Information Avila, Jr. Rigoberto 999391 08/05/1972 H 07/19/2001 El Paso

Last updated August 21, 2012

To protest the execution of John Balentine on August 22, call Texas Governor Rick Perry at 512 463 2000.

You can also call any member of the Texas House of Representatives and urge them to support a moratorium on execution in the next legislative session that begins in January 2013.

From the AP:

A former auto mechanic who shot and killed three of his former housemates while they were sleeping 14 years ago appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to delay his execution for a third time.
John Balentine, 43, was scheduled to die by injection Wednesday evening.

Balentine, who had a long criminal record in his native Arkansas before he killed the three Texas teens in January 1998, avoided lethal injection in September 2009 when a federal appeals court gave him a reprieve a day before his scheduled trip to the Texas death chamber. Then in June 2011, he was within an hour of execution when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped it.

Balentine’s attorney is seeking to stop his execution again.

“I thought it was done the last time,” Randall Sims, the district attorney in Amarillo, said. “The sad part of every delay is it’s not closure for the families of the victims.”

Balentine’s lawyer, Lydia Brandt, argued he had deficient legal help at his 1999 trial, that his legal assistance during early appeals also was faulty and that the deficiencies have led to issues that should be reviewed in the courts but can’t be addressed now because they weren’t properly brought up earlier.

“Mr. Balentine’s case is illustrative of why capitally sentenced prisoners in Texas have no meaningful opportunity to raise (these) claims,” Brandt told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Katherine Hayes, an assistant Texas attorney general, disagreed, saying the latest appeals were “only another attempt to delay … proceedings and further postpone his impending execution.”

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit refused Balentine’s appeal, and Brandt’s request for a rehearing before the full appeals court was rejected 11-4 by the court Tuesday. Brandt then took the case to the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, voting 7-0, rejected a clemency petition for Balentine.

His guilt was not an issue in the appeals.

The 250th execution carried out under Texas Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to take place on Halloween, October 31, 2012. Donnie Lee Roberts Jr is scheduled to lie down on the gurney and become the 250th person executed since Rick Perry became governor in 2000. No other  governor in U.S. history has seen more executions carried out while in office than Rick Perry. Todd Willingham, an innocent person, was wrongfully executed in 2004 after Perry refused to stop the execution to allow new scientific evidence to be fully investigated that a fire that killed Willingham’s three daughters was not an arson fire.

Texas Moratorium Network is calling on people in cities across Texas and elsewhere to organize protests on the date of the 250th execution to call attention to Rick Perry’s appalling record on the death penalty. If there are any stays of execution for the people currently scheduled for execution before the 250th, then the date of the 250th execution will change.

We also urge everyone to attend the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty in Austin at the Texas Capitol on November 3, 2012.

In 2009, TMN spearheaded protests in Texas as well as in Canada, France, Germany and Belgium of the 200th execution under Perry.

Dr. Jerry Williams, a Stephen F. Austin sociology professor was a speaker at the Walls Unit protest in 2009.  His sister was brutally murdered and her killer only spent 15 years in prison. He explained at the protest on the day of the 200th execution why he doesn’t believe in execution. “I hated him. I wanted to see him die. I wanted to see him suffer in prison. And I thought justice would be done only in the way, but what I realized over time was that my hate really diminished me. It damaged me and did nothing for him”.

If you plan to hold a protest of the 250th execution under Rick Perry, contact us at and let us know about it, so we can help spread the word for people to attend your protest.

Next year, Texas could reach 500 executions in the modern era after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty. Texas carried out its first execution after the reintroduction of capital punishment in 1982. We plan to encourage and help organize worldwide protests when Texas reaches 500 executions. Right now, there have been 484 executions in Texas since 1982.

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