Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kenneth Foster in the spotlight

Apparently Al-Jazeera is interested in Kenneth Foster's case and are planning to send their crews to Texas. London's Independent and LA Times also have some interesting articles. Capitolannex also weights in the United Methodist Church's doctrine against the death penalty.
Very interesting that both Governor Perry and his fellow congregants can so easily look over that chapter in their governing tents. It seems as though Governor Perry’s fellow congregants should have been outside along with the protesters.
The Huffington Post has published Katie Halmer's great letter to Gov. Rick Perry

Dear Governor Perry,

First of all, happy belated 400th execution day! It seems like only yesterday that Texas reinstated the death penalty, and yet you have managed to execute 400 people since 1982. Oops, scratch that, you killed DaRoyce Mosley Tuesday night, so make that 401 people, right? Actually, by the time you get this letter, you may have killed your 402nd inmate, John Amador, scheduled for August 29th. Or you may even have killed the 403rd person, Kenneth Foster, scheduled to die August 30th.

As you know, Kenneth Foster's fate is in your hands. In 1996, when Michael LaHood was fatally shot, of course, the man who pulled the trigger was not Foster, but Mauriceo Brown. And sure, Foster was inside a car at the time of the murder. Sure, 80 feet away from the crime scene, he was unaware of what Brown was up to. And sure, Amnesty International says, "In essence, Kenneth Foster has been sentenced to death for leaving his crystal ball at home. There is no concrete evidence demonstrating that he could know a murder would be committed. Allowing his life to be taken is a shocking perversion of the law." The law of parties allows anyone involved in anyway in a crime to be found as guilty as the person who committed the crime. Texas is unique because it applies this law to death penalty cases. In other words, Texas is so special, it will execute you for a crime it admits you did not commit.

I know you have received letters from leftist anarchist wing bats like Archbishop Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and the European Union, who are trying to bully you into granting a stay of execution. So I wanted to write you my own letter, urging you to hold your ground. Stay strong Mr. Governor! I so admire how you stood up to those EU girly boys, telling them, "230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas."

Who cares what the EU pansies think? When it comes to the death penalty, you are in good company. Some of the most freedom-loving countries-- Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Zimbabwe--have capital punishment. I, like yourself, am a traditionalist and love your argument that "the people of Texas decided a long time ago that the death penalty was a good idea." After all, Texas has a long proud history of old noble decisions going back to the War of Northern Aggression.

And, of course, "Texans are doing just fine governing Texas," representing its people and defending their interests. I think the Texan record speaks for itself. You are number one in percentage of uninsured, and number two in non-immunized children, and teenage pregnancy. You are number five in poverty and child poverty (no fair).

Now some people like to claim the death penalty is racist. OK, of the three men killed this week, two are black and one was Latino. But, out of the 10 upcoming executions, one of them is white.

Governor Perry, when you feel yourself faltering, just remember the strong gubernatorial roots that ground and nourish you. President George Bush, arguably Texas's greatest governor, executed 152 people in his unique caring way. In his page-turning autobiography A Charge to Keep, Bush wrote, "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." Bush took the cases so seriously, that he would even read the clemency pleas, according to his then legal council Alberto Gonzalez, "from time to time". Signing 152 death sentences was so stressful for Bush, sometimes the poor governor had to resort to impersonating death row inmates' pleas for clemency in order to decompress.

So please listen to reason, Mr. Governor, your own reason:

"Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens."

Like sitting in your car and not being clairvoyant.

To tell Governor Perry what you think about Kenneth Foster's case, call 512-463-2000, fax (512) 463-1849 and visit here.

Katie Halper

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