Friday, October 24, 2008

Press Advisory: The 9th Annual March to End Executions


October 24, 2008

Contacts: Gloria Rubac 713-503-2633

Dan Sharber 713-560-7227

The 9th Annual March to End Executions to Focus on the Flaws of the Death Penalty in Texas; Exoneree Clarence Brandley to Speak along with Several Death Row Families

Hundreds of death penalty opponents will gather in Houston on Saturday, October 25, for the 9th Annual March to End Executions. The march will kick off at 2:00 pm with a pre-rally at the S.H.A.P.E. Center’s Harambee building at 3903 Almeda.

The 2008 march will be lead by a new organization—Kids Against the Death Penalty (KADP) followed by the S.H.A.P.E. Center Council of Elders. Participants will be traveling from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley. The Free Radicals Marching Band will accompany the march down Alabama Street.

The featured speaker at the main rally at S.H.A.P.E.'s "Our Park," 3815 Live Oak, will be Clarence Brandley who was released after almost 10 years of wrongful confinement on death row. The S.H.A.P.E. Center was the home of the Coalition to Free Clarence Brandley, which launched a public campaign to win Brandley’s freedom.
In a 1987 evidentiary hearing, State District Judge Perry Picket recommended that the Court of Criminal Appeals grant Brandley a new trial, declaring: “In the thirty years this court has presided over matters in the judicial system, no case has presented a more shocking scenario of the effects of racial prejudice, perjured testimony, [and] witness intimidation. . . .The continued incarceration of Clarence Lee Brandley under these circumstances is an affront to the basic notion of fairness and justice.”

Another featured speaker will be Connie Wright, the wife of Gregory Wright, scheduled to be executed on October 30 despite evidence of innocence. Also, the family of Jeff Wood will speak. Wood was sent to death row because of the law of parties despite never killing anyone. He received a stay of execution shortly before his August 21 execution date this summer.

This march has been held every year since 2000, a year when then-Governor George Bush was campaigning for the presidency and 40 people were executed.

In 2008, Texas has seen questionable cases involving actual innocence, the law of parties, foreign nationals executed but never given their consular rights and a case of a judge and a D.A. having a secret, long-term romantic affair while trying cases together.

Thus, the theme of this year’s march is: The Death Penalty—Guilty on All Counts! Shut It Down.” Organizers point out that the death penalty targets poor people and people of color, executes innocent people through misconduct and the Law of Parties, and does not deter crime in Texas.


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