I've been following the Chicago Tribune articles. Thank you to the students and their mentors for their diligent efforts on behalf of social justice and repealing the death penalty.
Excerpt from a letter I wrote to the editor of the Chicago Tribune Magazine that was published October 14, 1990:
"Though I empathize with the families of victims of murders, killing the alleged criminal does little to further justice or provide protection. Killing--even lawful killing--engenders the habit of killing and a fearful brutalizing mentality within the culture. Future generations will look back at our resistance to cultural enlightenment with repugnance."
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Physicians and pharmacists who refuse to participate in what they deem to be killing have more in common than many of us might like to admit. But the most important distinction between them has to do with their differing relationship with patients. The law recognizes that doctors' special relationship with their patients warrants a legal privilege: Their discussions are kept secret. You may like and trust your pharmacist. You may even trust him with intimate details about your yeast infection. But your pharmacist has neither the tools nor the right to probe details about rape and abuse, incest and health risks. Which is why pharmacists who interpose between decisions made by a doctor and her patient are overstepping not just moral but legal boundaries -- and undermining another professional relationship that is fundamentally different from their own.In the meanwhile, Wal-Mart is embroiled in a legal dispute over the smiley face image which it wants to trademark in the US. For the first time, the smiley face speaks!
Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union---Permanent Council No. 622
EU Statement on Death Penalty in the USA
The EU reiterates its longstanding and firm opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. The EU considers that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.
While aiming for the universal abolition of the death penalty, we seek a moratorium in all countries which retain capital punishment as a 1st step towards this end.
The EU is therefore concerned about imminent breaches of de-facto moratoria in the States of South Dakota and Montana. The EU has learned that Mr. Elijah Page is to be executed in the week of 28 August. This would break a 60 year de-facto moratorium in South Dakota. The EU has equally learned that Mr. David Dawson is to be executed on 11 August. This would break an 8 year de-facto moratorium in Montana.
The EU would like to make an urgent appeal to the competent authorities in the States of South Dakota and Montana to continue the moratoria on the death penalty and urges them to grant clemency to Mr. Page and Mr. Dawson.
The EU trusts that the federal authorities will ensure that the competent State authorities will be informed of this statement.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
Source: European Union
Friday, July 28, 2006
Also many inmates such as Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna did not state their innocence in their last statement!
The following people are known to have claimed innocence in their last statement:
Date of Execution
Johnny R Anderson
May 17, 1990
June 26, 1990
Leonel Torres Herrera
May 12, 1993
Jesse Dewayne Jacobs
January 4, 1995
September 19, 1999
David Wayne Spence
April 3, 1997
Anthony Ray Westley
May 13, 1997
Robert Anthony Madden
May 28, 1997
Eddie James Johnson
June 17, 1997
Frank Basil McFarlan
April 29, 1998
Pedro Cruz Muniz
May 18, 1998
Martin Sauceda Vega
January 26, 1999
Charles Anthony Boyd
August 5, 1999
Billy George Hughes
January 24, 2000
Paul Selso Nuncio
June 15, 2000
Joiner, Orien Cecil
July, 12 2000
August 22, 2000
August 8, 2001
March 7, 2002
June 25, 2002
August 7, 2002
November 19, 2002
November 20, 2002
Willingham, Cameron Todd
February 17, 2004
May 18, 2004
October 20, 2005
 Texas Death Row
You've been hearing about his case now for several years: stories about him have appeard in the "Austin Chronicle"; two local filmmakers produced "State vs. Reed," a documentary that delves into the details of the case;
Right now, Rodney's case sits before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). The CCA will rule in the coming weeks on whether or not Rodney should get a new trial.We ask you to join us, along with Sandra Reed (Rodney's mother) and the entire Reed family, to let the state of Texas know that we will not stand for this injustice--Rodney Reed deserves a new trial. Unlike so many other tragic cases of injustice, there is a good chance that Rodney will actually get a new trial, and will eventually comehome. But the courts aren't just going to give it to him. We have to fight for it.
JOIN US THIS SATURDAY (7/29) AT 5:30PM IN FRONT OF THE CAPITOL AT 11TH
AND CONGRESS as we rally for justice.
Nelson Linder of the NAACP will be in attendance as well
Thursday, July 27, 2006
On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka. Her death sentence was imposed for "crimes against chastity". The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old. But she was not married - and she was just 16.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
|STARVIN' FOR JUSTICE 2006 - Texas|
The 1st Annual Fast & Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty
at the Texas Capitol
July 1st - July 2nd, 2006
The purpose of this event is to maintain a presence at the Texas Capitol between the dates of the anniversaries of when the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in practice in 1972, and when new laws were upheld in 1976.
Some of the participants fast during this time, but fasting is not required. We encounter thousands of visitors to the Capitol and share our message that no matter how you slice it, the death penalty is BAD PUBLIC POLICY. Much of the time is spent talking to individuals and creating visibility.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
There will be no execution vigil today in front of Governor's mansion!
According to Associated Press, "Bridgers would have been the 17th condemned prisoner to receive lethal injection this year in Texas, the nation's most active capital punishment state, and the third over the past seven days. Three more inmates are scheduled to die next month.
He initially was scheduled to die May 16, 2001, the same day Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh also was to be executed. Both received reprieves, although McVeigh was put to death a few weeks later."
Monday, July 24, 2006
|Death Penalty Organizing Workshop presented by Campaign to End the Death Penalty and including a showing of the 12 minute film "A Voice from Death Row" produced this year by Austin filmmaker Nathan Christ. The film features Shugaa Graham speaking at a forum CEDP held at UT, as well as scenes from the "6th Annual March to Stop Executions" held on Oct 29, 2005.|
Speakers: Bryan McCann, Jonathan Hunter, Scott Cobb
Saturday, July 22, 2006
If you don't believe me, you can read it for youreself in Salt Lake Tribune's website!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here is part of the story...
That last one comes from the Texas Moratorium Network, a statewide anti-death penalty group that says "an important new voice is about to be raised in support of a moratorium in Texas." Whose voice? That's a secret until around the end of the month, but the network is soliciting guesses on its blog about who the new supporter will be. "After the news breaks, we will post the names on our blog of the people who correctly predicted the name of the new voice. Maybe we will also post the incorrect guesses just for fun," the group writes in its newsletter.
Fun and Texas' Death Row. Yee-haw."We can't have a little fun?" TMN President Scott Cobb asked when Buzz gave him a ring
in Austin to see if we could get a hint and the big new name. "I don't think it detracts from anything." Hopefully, Cobb says, building a little suspense will drive a few people to the group's Web site and stir up some of the flagging interest in stopping executions in a state that has put to death 369 people since 1982 and is on track to kill four more just this month. This is despite recent news reports that at least one and maybe three innocent persons were part of that tally, and despite a growing chorus among editorialists for a moratorium at least until the Texas death machine is given a thorough review.
The response to Mr. William's question is YES! TSADP is offering one free registration for the 2007 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break (housing included) to the first person who correctly guesses who the new voice will be. The winner can also bring a friend to spring break for free too.
Please send your guesses to hooman (at) texasabolition.org ASAP!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
source: PBS NOW with David Brancaccio
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
Doctors should not help put inmates to death by lethal injection, the president of the ASA wrote in a message to colleagues last month. "The legal system has painted itself into a corner and it is not our obligation to get it out," Dr. Orin F. Guidry wrote on the organization's website. Guidry told AP that he posted the statement in response to a federal judge's order last week halting executions in Missouri until the state takes certain actions, such as finding board-certified anesthesiologists to oversee lethal injections.
Although the group does not have an official policy on the issue, the ASA recognizes the American Medical Association's ethical principles about physician participation in lethal injections, in particular that physicians should not participate in executions.
The president's message on lethal injection is available on the website of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
American Medical Association (AMA)
The AMA's ethics council has guidelines stating that it is unethical for physicians to engage in most aspects of lethal injection because a physician is "dedicated to preserving life." For example, physicians may not select fatal injection sites or start intravenous lines, prescribe or administer drugs used in the process, or consult with or supervise lethal injection personnel. Some actions, such as evaluating a prisoner psychiatrically to determine if the execution can proceed, are approved.
"Do we adhere to the patient's wishes if there's hope of prolonging life or preserving health, or do we simply participate in an execution?... and our position is that's not what doctors are supposed to do; we are healers, we are not killers," Dr. Priscilla Ray of the American Medical Association's ethics council told NPR in February 2006.
The full AMA guidelines on capital punishment are available at the website of the American Medial Association.
American Nurses Association (ANA)
The ANA says it is strongly opposed to nurse involvement in capital punishment. In its position statement, the association states that "participation in executions is considered contrary to the fundamental goals and ethical traditions of the profession." It cites "The Code for Nurses", nursing's ethical code of conduct, which stipulates that "the nurse does not act deliberately to terminate the life of any person." The ANA goes on to say that the nurses' obligation to refrain from causing death should not be breached, even when sanctioned by the law.
The full statement is available from The American Nurses Association
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
As reported by TMN blog, we will soon be announcing a major development in our campaign to convince policymakers to support a moratorium on executions in Texas. An important new voice is about to be raised in support of a moratorium in Texas. The announcement could come next week.
Two Executions in Texas this WeekTake action against the execution of Mauriceo Brown on July 19 by sending an email to Governor Perry. When writing Governor Perry to express your opposition to the execution, please remember to ask him to express your sympathies to the friends and family of the victim - Michael LaHood.
Take action against the execution of Robert Anderson on July 20 by sending an email to Governor Perry. When writing Governor Perry to express your opposition to the execution, please remember to ask him to express your sympathies to the friends and family of the victim - Audra Anne Reeves.
Statewide Execution Vigils
Huntsville - Corner of 12th Street and Avenue I (in front of the Walls Unit) at 5:00 p.m.
Austin - At the Governor's Mansion on the Lavaca St. side between 10th and 11th St. from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.
Beaumont - Diocese of Beaumont, Diocesan Pastoral Office, 703 Archie St. @ 4:00 p.m. on the day of an execution.
College Station - 5:30 to 6 PM, east of Texas A &M campus at the corner of Walton and Texas Ave. across the street from the main entrance.
Corpus Christi - at 6 PM in front of Incarnate Word Convent at 2910 Alameda Street
Dallas - 5:30 pm, at the SMU Women's Center, 3116 Fondren Drive
Houston - St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 5501 Main Street (corner of Binz). Parking is available in the church parking lot on Fannin.
Lewisville - St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 1897 W. Main Street. Peace & Justice Ministry conducts Vigils of Witness Against Capital Punishment at 6:00 pm on the day executions are scheduled in Texas.
McKinney - St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Community located at 110 St. Gabriel Way @ 6:00 p.m. on the day of an execution.
San Antonio (Site 1) - Archdiocese of San Antonio, in the St. Joseph Chapel at the Chancery, 2718 W. Woodlawn Ave. (1 mile east of Bandera Rd.) at 11:30 a.m. on the day of execution. Broadcast on Catholic Television of San Antonio (Time-Warner cable channel 15) at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the day of execution.
San Antonio (Site 2) - Main Plaza across from Bexar County Courthouse and San Fernando Cathedral - Noon
Monday, July 17, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Re: "Justice Without Doubt – Questionable death cases call for review," Sunday Editorials.
This editorial about the death penalty and three questionable executions is a reasonable approach to a difficult subject. I had enough concerns about flaws in the system to have my name taken off the death row prison a few years ago.
Mistakes can occur, but the system is not willing to admit them.
Your recommendation for a commission to review the entire subject is a good one. A moratorium on the death penalty during that process won't do any harm. The inmates aren't going anywhere.
Charles T. Terrell, Dallas
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
education against the death penalty as part of the 2006 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break. The students were not only from
Texas, but from several other states, including as far away as Oregon and Kansas. Austin is an appropriate location for this annual alternative spring break program because Texas is the number one execution state in the United States. More than 365 people have been executed in Texas since 1982.
The 2006 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break, which was sponsored by Texas Students Against the Death Penalty and co-sponsored by other organizations such as Campus Progress, was designed to give students something more meaningful to do during their week off, rather than just spending time at the beach. The participants were provided with
workshops where they learned skills they could put to good use back home setting up new anti-death penalty student organizations or improving already existing ones. Activities included a death penalty issues lobby day and a trip to Huntsville to protest outside the prison during an
execution. The week was a great opportunity for students to gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying, preparing a direct action and media relations.
This year's alternative spring break was covered by many local and national media, including National Public Radio. MTVU sent a crew to Austin for the whole week to shoot the event for their program "mtvU Spring Break '06." Annie Gillies, MTVU-Spring Break Coordinator,
explained MTV's interest in an email to TSADP, "When people think of Spring Break the vision of beaches, night clubs and drinking until you drop usually comes to mind. MTVU wants to put a
new spin on the typical Spring Break stereotypes by showcasing college students from around the country with alternative plans. The new Spring Break trend has students using their time away from school for more meaningful purposes -- whether volunteering with Habitat for
Humanity, helping restore properties affected by Hurricane Katrina or protesting a cause they believe in."
The bus trip to Huntsville to protest the execution of Tommie Hughes was probably the most memorable activity of the week for most of the students. During the trip to Huntsville, the students also visited the Texas Prison Museum and attended a lecture by Rev.Caroll Pickett, the former death house chaplain who is now an anti-death penalty activist. He is author of "Within these Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain". During his 16 years as a death house chaplain, Rev. Pickett ministered to 95 people on the final day of their lives and was present in the chamber during their executions. By the end of the talk most of the students were in tears hearing the awful stories about the final minutes of many of the people Pickett had witnessed
After Rev. Pickett's talk, the students headed to the Walls Unit, where they were joined by many other students that had driven on their own to Huntsville for the protest. This was the first protest of any kind for many of the students, including Angela Martellaro, a high
school student who drove from Shawnee, Kansas with two of her friends to attend. Many of these first-time protesters said the experience was one of the most emotional and haunting experiences of their lives so far.
at the Texas State Board of Education
the crowd remain silent during the execution.
The Huntsville Item, which rarely covers execution protests, published a front page story on the anti-death penalty alternative spring break protest. Everybody felt satisfied knowing that people in Huntsville woke up and read about our group of young protesters in their morning papers. In 1964, students came down to the South during Freedom Summer to fight for civil and human rights and to build a more just nation. Now, the people of Huntsville could read in the morning papers that some of today's generation of young people had come back to finish the
Back in Austin, one of the week's events was a panel discussion with family members of murder victims that was held in the Texas capitol building. Audrey Lamm, a student from the University of Oregon, told the story of how she was two years old when her mother and her mother's friend were murdered in Nebraska. Audrey had been in the building when the killing took place. The killer was sentenced to death. Several years ago, as the date of the execution of her mom's killer approached, Audrey and her father, Gus, became involved in an effort to prevent the killer's execution. Due to their efforts, the killer, Randy Reeves, had his life spared and is now serving life inprison instead of facing execution.
During the lobby day, students visited legislative offices at the Texas capitol (Ralph Nader style!) going door to door and lobbying for a moratorium on executions and other death penalty reforms. Our presence at the capitol made many of the pro-death penalty representatives and
Senators very uncomfortable. We heard reports that after hearing our plans on NPR some Republicans had sent instructions to their offices on how to respond to our questions in case we showed up.
The annual anti-death penalty alternative spring break is an important training ground for the next generation of human rights leaders. This year's students made an enormous impact on the people of Huntsville and impressed the entire anti-death penalty community with their passionate commitment to human rights. Student engagement in contemporary movements for civil and human rights does not start at colleges, high school students are also participating. The 2006 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break and the national immigration protests are clear examples of students making a difference.
Texas Students Against the Death Penalty will hold next year's Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break March 12-16, 2007. Everyone is welcome. Visit www.springbreakalternative.org or email
hooman(at)texasabolition.org if you would like to sponsor or attend next year's event.
2006 ADP Spring Break News Articles:
Students take stand against death penalty (Item Online - Huntsville)
Unas vacaciones contra la pena de muerte (Rumbo Austin)
Students work against death penalty (News 8 Austin)
MtvU wants to turn Spring Breakers into action-makers (University Star News Reporter)
2006 Anti Death Penalty Spring Break - Murder Victim Families at the TX Capitol google videos
2005 Anti Death Penalty Spring Break Alternative - Austin, Texas google videos
Bus Trip to huntsville and Lecture by Rev. Carol Pickett google videos
Saturday, July 08, 2006
A small group of anti-death penalty activists convened at the front of the state Capitol Saturday for a day of fasting in observance of the 30th anniversary of the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States.
The event drew fewer than a dozen people Hooman Hedayati, president of Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, said the organization hopes to draw more activists next year and hoped an Oct. 12 anti-execution march will draw a sizeable crowd from around the state. The organization passed out more than 500 leaflets over several hours throughout the day Saturday.
The July 2, 1976 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gregg v. Georgia lifted a moratorium on executions around the country. In an earlier 1972 ruling, Furman v. Georgia, the court ruled that the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious.
Texas has led the nation in the number of executions since the 1976 ruling.
Speakers Saturday included Sandra Reed, mother of Texas death-row inmate Rodney Reed, family members of murder victims and UT students volunteering for anti-death penalty causes. They discussed broader issues of racism and poverty in the legal justice system in Texas and around the country, and many called for a moratorium of executions, under all circumstances.
Organizers said the fasting at the event was a symbolic gesture of compassion for the 399 inmates currently on death row in Texas. The group did not seek to attract the attention of lawmakers or Gov. Rick Perry, as government offices were closed for the weekend.
Reed, who said she has taken her message to talks at college campuses around the country in the last few years, said her son was innocent Saturday, alleging that an all-white jury convicted her son and said that new evidence could acquit him.
"It's very important to open their eyes and educate them about corruption with the system," she said. "The justice system has deceived us. They want us to think it's all about justice."
Rodney Reed, 38, was convicted in 1998 of two counts of capital murder in the abduction, rape and killing of Bastrop woman Stacey Stites. Earlier this month, he faced a legal setback when a Bastrop judge ruled that new evidence introduced by Reed's lawyers would not have changed the outcome of the original trial. Reed's lawyers claimed that key witnesses were withheld from the jury during his original trial.
The case is back before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
About half of the passers-by at the Capitol Saturday refused to take the leaflets, and commented about the validity of capital punishment. Other drivers who saw banners for the event honked and gave a thumbs-up as they drove by.
"One of the problems we had was that said Hedayati, a computer science sophomore.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Robert Hoelscher's father, a convenience store manager, was murdered during a robbery in 1961 when Robert was seven years old. Just two days after the murder, Robert's mother called the parents of the offender, a 17 year-old teenager with mental health problems. The offender's father was the real estate agent that had recently participated in the transaction of the new Hoelscher family home. During that call, Robert's mother told the parents of the person that killed her husband and left six children fatherless, "I understand and I forgive. I know that your son is very, very sick. I am a mother. I have sons, too. Hatred will not bring my husband back." That courageous expression of compassion has followed Robert throughout his life. He has never associated healing or closure with the fate of his father's killer. Professionally, Robert worked on policy issues as Deputy Director of the Texas Innocence Network, part of the Barry Scheck inspired innocence movement that investigates wrongful convictions and seeks freedom for individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit.
Sandra Reed, mother of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed
In May of 1998, a Bastrop County jury convicted Bastrop resident Rodney Reed of the murder of a young Giddings woman, Stacey Stites. Stites was murdered in April of 1996, and Reed was arrested a year later, based on a match of his DNA to semen found in Stites' body. On the basis of that DNA match alone, the prosecution argued that Reed had assaulted, raped, sodomized, and strangled Stites -- although there was no other physical evidence connecting Reed to the brutal crime.
Read Who Killed Stacey Stites? by Austin Chronicle.
Yes, we had live music! Our volunteers passed out about 1000 brochures to the Capitol visitors during the 1st annual fast and vigil in Texas.
For more information about the SCOTUS fast and vigil please visit Fast and Vigil blog or abolition.org
2006 Starvin' For Justice - Texas was sponsored by:
Texas Students Against the Death Penalty
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Texas Moratorium Network
Campaign to End the Death Penalty - Austin
First United Methodist Church
Media Coverage: Fox 7 Austin, CBS42 Key Eye, TSN Radio (CBS Radio Nes texas)