I'm writing to you today because of an issue that is very important to me, and may be to you as well. I learned this morning that Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis) will be introducing a bill in the Senate subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights to abolish the death penalty in the United States . The bill will be called the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2009 and is probably much like the bill of the same name he introduced in 2007. However, now the time is ripe for Texans who oppose capital punishment to speak up, since our senator, John Cornyn, sits on the same subcommittee and has the power of disapproval and destruction of the bill.
I may not know if you are for or against the death penalty - if you fully support it, you may want to just delete this email - but if you have any doubts about the efficacy of the punishment on deterring crime, or the racial bias, or even that an imperfect judicial system cannot be fully responsible for the lives of citizens, then I urge you to read Amnesty International's page on the death penalty, which can be found here.
If you are opposed to this very final and very cruel form of punishment, I ask that you, as a Texan, write to Senator Cornyn and express your wish that he support Senator Fiengold's bill. You can find a contact form to his office here. In full disclosure, I have included the letter I wrote this morning; please feel free to use it as a template for your own, or write freely about your concerns. The limit on the contact form is 10,000 characters.
Thanks for hearing me out, and please pass this email along to anyone who opposes capital punishment.
My letter to Sen. Cornyn:
Dear Senator Cornyn,
As a resident of the state you represent, I write to you today to ask you to support Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to end the death penalty in the United States in the subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights on which you serve.
The decision by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to end capital punishment in his state makes this an ideal time to take a stance against this arbitrary, inhumane, and irresponsible form of punishment. Additionally, the recent "'crazy' but 'sane'" ruling on the case of Andre Thomas is an absolute embarrassment to Texans and our judicial system and should be used as an example of an abuse of the punishment. The fact that the Unites States remains the only first world nation to continue this horrid practice only adds to our collective shame.
Texas has already freed more than nine prisoners from death row because they were determined to be innocent after their sentencing. How many innocents has it killed?
I urge you now to take a stand against this absolutely irresponsible system of punishment, if only because people can make mistakes, including people in our judiciary system and those mistakes shouldn't be irreversible. Please do your part to push the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2009 through your subcommittee and have it heard on the Senate floor.
Constituent Leah Manners
Monday, March 23, 2009
Texas Can Help End the Death Penalty