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The Campaign to End the Death Penalty’s 12th Annual Convention

Texas Abolition Weekend!

November 2-4 in Austin, Texas

Register now at nodeathpenalty.org

Once again this November, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty is headed straight to the belly of the beast – Texas – for a weekend of struggle and organizing!

This year’s convention will take place the same weekend as the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty – an event that will be at the heart of the weekend on Saturday November 3, at 2PM at the Texas State Capitol.

And of course, we will be taking the time to talk about questions on how to build a movement that combats racism in the criminal justice system, supports resistance behind bars, aims to end mass incarceration and harsh punishment and makes the death penalty history.

Our convention is always a place for family members of prisoners, former prisoners, and activists to gather, share our stories and experiences, and strategize next steps forward for our organization and the cases we work on.

We hope you will join us November 2-4 in Austin, Texas for our 12th annual national convention!

REGISTRATION:

This year’s registration includes a special Saturday morning breakfast.  Regular registration is $40 including the dinner, and $20 for family members, former prisoners and students. There will be a Friday evening event which is free to all convention attendees and others.  Register now for the convention!

Or you can mail in your registration to: CEDP, P.O. Box 25730, Chicago, IL 60647, and make your check out to the CEDP.

BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Clarion Inn at a special rate of $113.85 (includes tax). To make reservations, call 800-434-7378 and mention the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. The hotel offers a free breakfast and is within walking distance of the convention site.

Check out the Clarion website to view pictures or get more information.

For a map of the hotel and convention site click here.

CONVENTION SITE: VENTANA DEL SOUL

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is excited to be hosting our annual convention in Austin at Ventana Del Soul.  Ventana is a charitable organization that provides food service and culinary arts training to young people and adults who are undermployed – with a emphasis on reentry support for the formerly incarcerated.

The Ventana Del Soul facility hosts a kitchen and café that is open daily, as well as catering services.  The folks working at the venue are part of Ventana’s various training programs, often through scholarships provided by the organization.

No outside food and drinks should be brought into Ventana Del Soul.

This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with a charitable mission the meshes nicely with the CEDP’s commitment to fighting against the injustices in the system.  We should do whatever we can over the weekend to talk with and support the folks at Ventana Del Soul.

For more information check out Ventana’s website.

DONATE TO THE COSTELLA CANNON FUND

Every year, because of contributions like yours, we are able to fly family members and former prisoners to this annual gathering where they are able to participate, speak, share their story their pain and their hope. The fund is named after Costella Cannon, our dear friend and a fellow Campaigner who died in 2003. Her son was wrongfully incarcerated and a victim of torture and died while incarcerated.

The voices of family members and former prisoners are so important to the movement for justice. Politicians want us to think that the men and women behind bars are monsters. We know that this is not true. Family members and former prisoners put a human face on the criminal justice system. Their contributions to the movement are invaluable. As Lawrence Foster, grandfather of former death row prisoner Kenneth Foster once said, convention is a place where activists become family members and family members become activists.

Please donate what you are able to make sure that we have funds to get these important voices to our convention. We are so grateful for any support folks can give.  Make a donation online here.

Checks made out to the CEDP can be mailed to P.O. Box 25730 Chicago, IL 60625

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Featured Speakers will include:  

FORMER PRISONERS: 

Lawrence Hayes – Former New York death row prisoner

Mark Clements – Former Illinois juvenile life without parole prisoner and police torture victim

Darby Tillis – Former death row prisoner in Illinois

*Also invited to call in from prison are California death row prisoner Kevin Cooper

FAMILY MEMBERS:

Sandra Reed – mother of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed

Jack Bryson – Whose son was on the platform with Oscar Grant when Oscar was shot and killed by Oakland transit police

Barbara Lewis – Mother of Delaware death row prisoner Robert Gattis

Delia Perez Meyer – Sister of Texas death row prisoner Louis Castro Perez

Terri Been – Sister of Texas death row prisoner Jeff Wood who was convicted under the Texas Law of Parties

Jeannine Scott – Wife of Michael Scott who was freed in the Yogurt Shop case in Austin, Texas

Derrel Myers – a member of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights and a long-time civil rights and antiwar activist

Lawrence Foster, Sr. – Grandfather of former Texas death row prisoner Kenneth Foster, Jr. whose sentence was commuted to life in 2007 

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Among the sessions:   

The shameful record of the Texas death penalty:  From Shaka Sankofa to Rodney Reed 

Abolition breakfast:  Why we march!

One struggle:  The Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the new movement for racial justice.

Our vision for winning abolition:  How we fight matters!

Register now for the convention!

 

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UPDATE 11:19 PM: Jonathan Green has been executed.

Tonight’s scheduled execution, which was stayed on Monday, has been reset after the stay was lifted upon appeal by the State of Texas. If the execution is not stayed again, Jonathan Green would become the 248th person executed under Rick Perry and the 487th person executed by Texas since 1982.

From the AP:

A Texas man convicted in the slaying of a 12-year-old girl is scheduled to be executed Wednesday evening after a federal appeals court overturned a reprieve granted earlier this week.

Jonathan Green was sentenced to death in 2010 for the abduction, rape and strangling of Christina Neal, whose body was found at his home in June 2000. Neal’s family lived across a highway from Green in Dobbin, about 45 miles northwest of Houston.

Green’s attorneys argued that he was mentally incompetent for the death penalty, saying he suffered from hallucinations, and on Monday a federal district judge in Houston granted a reprieve.

But the Texas attorney general’s office convinced the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn that ruling and lift the stay of execution late Tuesday, less than 24 hours before Green could be taken to the death chamber.

Green’s lethal injection would be the 10th this year in Texas and the first of four scheduled for this month in the nation’s most active death penalty state.

The appeals court said it found the procedures at Green’s competency hearing were not improper, that no Supreme Court precedents were violated and that it was reasonable to find Green competent for the death penalty.

“We conclude that the state court applied the correct standard and the (federal) district court abused its discretion in finding otherwise,” the three-judge panel ruled.

Green’s lawyer, James Rytting, said his client hallucinated about the “ongoing spiritual warfare between two sets of voices representing good and evil.”

But Green told a psychiatrist who examined him before the hearing that he didn’t and couldn’t have killed Neal, that false evidence was used against him, and that he understood a murder conviction could result in him receiving an injection that would kill him.

Supreme Court guidance says mental illness can’t disqualify someone from execution if they understand the sentence and reasons for the punishment, the state lawyers argued.

Green has declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared.

The 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty will be Saturday November 3, 2012 at 2 PM in Austin, Texas at the Capitol.

Thank you to Patricia Turner for designing this poster for the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

2012_MarchtoAbolishDeathPenaltyLayered

Each autumn since 2000, people from all walks of life and all parts of Texas, the U.S. and other countries have taken a day out of the year and gathered in Austin to raise their voices together and loudly express their opposition to the death penalty. The annual march is a coming together of activists, family members of those on death row, family members of murder victims who oppose the death penalty, community leaders, exonerated and innocent death row survivors and all those calling for repeal of the death penalty.

The annual march is organized as a joint project by several Texas anti-death penalty organizations and their friends, including Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence, Kids Against the Death Penalty, International Socialist Organization, the Texas Civil Rights Project, The Austin Chronicle, NOKOA, Gray Panthers, Democrats for Life, and Texas Democrats Against the Death Penalty.

If you would like to list your business or organization as a sponsor of the march, please contact us.

Texas is nearing 500 executions since 1982. Rick Perry is nearing 250 executions since he became governor.

Before his execution, Todd Willingham told his parents, “Please don’t ever stop fighting to vindicate me.”

Before his execution, Troy Davis told his supporters in a letter, “There are so many more Troy Davises. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”

On November 3, 2012 at 2 PM in Austin, you can join the fight for justice by attending the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Now is the time to join the fight to end the death penalty! More and more people are concluding that the death penalty is a punishment that Texas can do without.

ANTHONY HAYNES IS SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED ON OCT. 18.

Age 19 + No Prior Record + Sloppy Lawyers = Death Sentence

By Brian Evans, blog, Amnesty International USA:

Anthony Haynes, a 19-year-old at the time of the crime with no prior criminal history, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on October 18.

As noted in this space previously, there were serious issues of racial bias in his case (African American defendant, 11 white jurors, judge cleaning guns during jury selection). There were also bad lawyersand a possibly coerced confession. Despite this, the state of Texas is prepared to put this man to death for a crime he committed as a teenager under the influence of crystal meth.

Two days before Haynes fatally shot Kent Kincaid, an off-duty police officer, a friend of the family had given him crystal meth. It was Haynes’ first experience with the drug. The same friend wrote in a sworn statement that during those two days Haynes began “talking crazy,” saying he had been unable to sleep for days and thought someone was following him. When Sergeant Kincaid approached Haynes’ car, Haynes’ drug-induced paranoia really kicked in – he believed he would be dragged from the car. He shot and killed Officer Kincaid.

A doctor who specializes in psychiatry concluded in 2005 that Haynes’ actions that night were inconsistent with previous behavior and his diminished capacity was due to his first-time use of meth. The jury never heard that Haynes had used crystal meth prior to the shooting.

Sloppy Lawyers

Predicting “future dangerousness” is a prerequisite for Texas death sentences, and Anthony Haynes’ lawyer failed to offer a strong challenge to the state’s weak case for his future dangerousness.  Without the violence inducing effects of meth, there was little to suggest Haynes would be an ongoing threat.

Haynes has no previous criminal record. More than 3 dozen friends and family offered to testify about Haynes’ good character and against the claim that Haynes would be a future threat to society. Yet Haynes’ defense lawyer refused most offers of testimony and failed to even interview many family members.

Haynes’ inadequate representation continued into his habeas corpus appeal. His court appointed habeas lawyer didn’t investigate the failures of his trial lawyer. In a 2006 article in the Austin American-Statesman, the habeas attorney was cited as one of the “sloppy lawyers failing clients on death row”, due to a habit of submitting habeas corpus petitions that were “copied largely verbatim” from the prisoner’s previous appeal.

A Coerced Confession?

For Texas to obtain the death penalty in this case, the prosecution also had to prove that Haynes knew Sergeant Kincaid was a police officer at the time of the shooting. Kincaid was off-duty the day of the shooting and was dressed in plain clothes, driving his personal car. In his initial statement, for which he waived his right to have a lawyer present, Haynes confessed to the shooting and to knowing that Kincaid was a police officer.

Haynes has since maintained that this confession was coerced, and that he did not know Kincaid was an officer. During and before his interrogation, Haynes was not allowed to use the bathroom, eat or rest, and was still feeling the effects of his meth use. As we have all seen recently, it doesn’t always take much to coerce a false confession. Despite Haynes’ allegation that the confession was coerced, the judge allowed it to be used as evidence that led to his being sentenced to death in 1999.

Stop this execution

Anthony Haynes should be granted a new sentencing hearing so that the mountains of unheard mitigating evidence can finally be presented. At the least, he should be granted clemency and have his sentence commuted.  Executing Anthony Haynes after such a dubious legal process would be a fundamental injustice.

Derrick Jamison embraces new exoneree Damon Thibodeaux.

Derrick Jamison, an innocent man who spent 17 years on death row in Ohio, will be a special guest at the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on November 3, 2012 at the Texas Capitol in Austin at 2 PM. He is a member of Witness to Innocence.

Derrick Jamison was one of four exonerated death-row inmates ( along with Ray Krone, Shujaa Graham and Ron Keine) who went to Santiago, Spain to film a TV commercial featuring Coca-Cola’s sports drink Aquarius. They filmed for 6 days, sometimes for 18 hrs a day for these few seconds of air time. Coca-Cola says that their message reached hundreds of millions of people in Spain, Central, and South America. Three of the exonerees featured in the commercial will now be at the 11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 30 at 2 PM at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

Click here to watch the 1 minute 31 second version on YouTube.

More about Derrick Jamison:

When James Suggs, an eyewitness to the robbery and murder of a Cincinnati bartender, was shown photo arrays of suspects by police, he identified two men—but neither of them was Derrick Jamison. There were also multiple contradictions between physical descriptions of the perpetrators given by witnesses and Derrick’s actual appearance. This information was withheld from Jamison’s trial, and as a result, an innocent man spent nearly 20 years on Ohio’s death row for a crime he did not commit.

In February 2005, Ohio Common Pleas Judge Richard Niehaus dismissed all charges against Derrick after his conviction was overturned three years earlier. Jamison was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 based largely on the testimony of Charles Howell, a co-defendant whose own sentence was reduced in exchange for testimony against Derrick.
Statements were withheld that contradicted Howell’s testimony, undermined the prosecution’s explanation for the death, and ultimately would have incriminated other suspects for the murder. Two federal courts ruled that the prosecution’s actions denied Derrick a fair trial.

Today, Derrick is fully aware of the inequality of the criminal justice system. “There is a double standard when it comes to justice in our judicial system, especially with wrongful conviction,” he says. “If you are a minority or a low-income citizen, the pursuit of justice can be an elusive one. But if you are rich it happens overnight.”

Although his resentment towards the system is subsiding, Derrick continues to express anger about how the 17 years he spent on death row impacted his life and the lives of his family members. At the time of sentencing, he was incredibly troubled because of his unjust imprisonment. “I was very angry, furious and distraught. . . all the emotions that stir up anguish. It made me feel it was over for me. Not only did that sentence affect me, it was the demise of my mother and father.”

Derrick expresses daily gratitude for his release. “In the 21 years I experienced ‘dead man walking’ I never had anything to smile about,” he says, “but on that day, I felt the smile come from within my heart. The sun shone down on me that day.”

The annual march is organized by several Texas and national anti-death penalty organizations, including Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center, Kids Against the Death Penalty, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Amnesty International at the University of Texas, S.H.A.P.E Community Center, the Journey of Hope … from Violence to Healing, and Witness to Innocence.

 

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