Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troy Davis denied - From Texas to Georgia: Stop Executions!


If you are outraged by the decision announced this morning by the Georgia Parole Board to deny clemency to Troy Davis and want to take a stand against executions in Texas, please come the Capitol this evening!
For a response to the Parole Boards decision and more information on Troy's case:  http://nodeathpenalty.org/organizing-updates/september-20-2011-organizing-update/travesty-justice-troy-has-been-denied-clemenc
Keep contacting the authorities in Georgia and Texas - Here is a petition you can sign aimed at the Savannah DA: http://www.change.org/petitions/chatham-county-district-attorney-request-that-troy-davis-death-warrant-be-withdrawn

Express your disagreement and a
sk the Georgia Parole Board to reconsider: Call (404.656.5651), e-mail (Webmaster@pap.state.ga.us), and fax (404.651.8502

In Texas, call on Governor Rick Perry to stop the executions of Cleve Foster and Lawrence Brewer;

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNS DECISION TO DENY TROY DAVIS CLEMENCY, CALLING IT AN ‘OUTRAGEOUS AFFRONT TO JUSTICE’

Amnesty International Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 19, 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNS DECISION TO DENY TROY DAVIS CLEMENCY, CALLING IT
AN ‘OUTRAGEOUS AFFRONT TO JUSTICE’

Contact:  Wende Gozan Brown at 347-526-5520, wgozan@aiusa.org
(Atlanta) – Following the announcement that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency to death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International AIUSA (AIUSA), released the following statement:  
"It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice.
"In 2007 the Board vowed that no execution would go forward unless there was ‘no doubt’ about guilt, a vow that has now been rendered meaningless. To fail to re-examine the facts, including allegations about an alternate suspect, and allow this execution to go forward is an injustice to both the Davises and the MacPhails. Amnesty International urges the Board to reconsider its decision immediately, and for District Attorney Larry Chisolm to seek to vacate the death warrant. Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system.
"The case against Davis unraveled long ago. Seven out of nine original state witnesses recanted or changed their original testimonies, some alleging police coercion. Ten people have pointed to one of the remaining witnesses as the actual killer. There is no murder weapon that links Davis to the crime. Any notion of physical evidence that demonstrates Davis’ guilt has been debunked."  
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.

# # #

For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis .


(See attached file: Davis denial, FINAL, 9.19.2011.docx)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back-to-back executions loom in Texas



Cleve "Sarge" Foster, top, and Lawrence Brewer


By Elizabeth Stein
Producer, Execution Watch



Sarge Foster has cheated death for the third time this year. A spokesman for the U.S. Supreme Court said this afternoon that Foster was granted a stay of execution pending a hearing on his petition for a Writ of Certiorari -- a request that the High Court review the decision of a lower court.

Foster was slated to be put to death tonight, based on his conviction for participating in a crime in which another man has admitted killing a woman. The Supreme Court has granted Foster two other stays for execution dates set earlier this year.

Needless to say, Execution Watch is canceled for tonight. Unfortunately, we are still on for tomorrow, when Lawrence Brewer is slated to be put to death. More at http://executionwatch.org

HUNTSVILLE -- Texas plans back-to-back executions this week.

On Tuesday, the state intends to put to death Army veteran Cleve "Sarge" Foster, whose murder conviction and death sentence have been under attack. The following day, Lawrence Brewer is slated for execution in the dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas.

Barring a stay, Execution Watch will broadcast live coverage and analysis during the hour of each execution, 6 p.m. Central Time, on KPFT FM 90.1 Houston, streaming at http://executionwatch.org > Listen.


CLEVE “SARGE” FOSTER 
A 47-year-old Army veteran, Foster faces his third execution date this year. He was convicted of participating in a 2002 crime in Tarrant County in which another man has admitted committing a murder. The U.S. Supreme Court granted Foster stays in January and April of this year. More background: executionwatch.org > Backpage on Cleve Foster.

SHOW LINEUP
Host: RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded, and hosted for 30 years, the Prison Show on KPFT. His new show may be heard every weekday on hmsnetradio.org at 2 p.m. CT.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator and retired attorney, he’s a native Texan and  iconoclast who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution table and the defense table. His guests may include fellow attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: CLEVE “SARGE” FOSTER. At Foster’s invitation, volunteer staffers from Execution Watch went to death row in Livingston and recorded an interview with him. If Foster is executed, the entire unedited, 20-minute interview will air as the show’s featured interview.

Reporter, Death House, Huntsville: GLORIA RUBAC founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

Reporter, Vigil, Houston: DAVE ATWOOD, a board member and founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,  www.tcadp.org.


LAWRENCE RUSSELL BREWER
Age 43, Brewer is one of three white men convicted of chaining James Byrd, a 49-year-old black man, to the back of a pickup and dragging him to death on a country road near Jasper in 1998. One fall partner also received a death sentence; the other is serving life in prison. More Background: http://executionwatch.org > Backpage on Lawrence Brewer

SHOW LINEUP
RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded, and hosted for 30 years, the Prison Show on KPFT. His new show may be heard every weekday on hmsnetradio.org at 2 p.m. CT.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator and retired attorney, he’s a native Texan and  iconoclast who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution table and the defense table. He’ll be joined by fellow attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: DENNIS LONGMIRE, professor of criminal justice, Sam Houston State University, will elucidate the high cost to taxpayers of the death penalty. In this case, the trials alone cost Jasper County a total of $1.02 million, leading to a 6.7 percent property-tax hike.

Reporter, Death House, Huntsville: GLORIA RUBAC founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

Reporter, Vigil, Houston: DAVE ATWOOD, a board member and founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,  www.tcadp.org.

NEXT SCHEDULED EXECUTION
On Oct. 27, Texas plans to execute FRANK GARCIA. If it does, Execution Watch will broadcast. Details: executionwatch.org.


PRODUCER: Elizabeth Stein, eliza.tx.usa @gmail.com
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: Otis Maclay, omaclay @gmail.com.
STUDIO ENGINEER: Doyle.
INTERVIEW TAPING: Mark Pirtle.
THEME: By Victoria Panetti, SheMonster International, myspace.com/shemonster.

Execution Watch is on Facebook.







Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Call To Action From Troy Davis!

I just received this letter from Troy in the mail and wanted to share it with everybody in it’s entirety. At first I wondered why the penmanship was sort of scrawled.  Then I read his note and I understood. He had to write it using the inside of a pen. They have taken everything from him except his eyeglasses. Yet his call to action is strong and mighty.

Marlene Martin
Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP)
For more info on Troy and on the Global day of action go to our website at www.nodeathpenalty.org


Hello Marlene,
I received your letter. However they took all of my mail, address book and the only property I have is my eyeglasses.  I’m writing with the filter of a pen because I’m not allowed the entire pen. With all these security rules they only allowed me to write down your address.  I don’t remember everything you said in your letter but I wanted to thank you, your family and CEDP for everything.

It is time for action so please encourage everyone to reach out to politicians, ministers, and grassroots organizations to contact the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole and Governor to grant me relief and stop this scheduled execution.  Get involved in this movement to put an end to the death penalty.  Come to Georgia and take a stand for Justice. Let them know I’m blessed and my faith in God is stronger than ever.  Now we have a chance to join together and be heard loud and clear that Georgia needs to stop this execution of an innocent man and end the death penalty all together.

Excuse my writing but its hard using the funnel only.

God bless you and keep up the great work you’re doing.

Sincerely

Troy Davis

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Execution Watch: Duane Buck

Duane Buck
 
 
By Elizabeth Stein
Producer, Execution Watch
 
Attorneys for Duane Buck are struggling to win a stay before his scheduled execution Thursday for a double homicide in Houston. 
 
Buck's death sentence was unconstitutional, they say, because it was issued following testimony from a prosecution witness that Buck was more likely to commit future violence because he is black. 
 
If a stay is not issued by Thursday at 6 p.m. Central Time, Execution Watch will provide live coverage and commentary.

RADIO PROGRAM PREVIEW
EXECUTION WATCH
Unless a stay is issued, we'll broadcast on ...
Sept. 15, 2011, 6-7 PM CT
Houston: KPFT 90.1 FM
Worldwide: www.executionwatch.org > Listen
*** Join the Execution Watch discussion on Facebook ***

TEXAS PLANS TO EXECUTE:
DUANE BUCK, 48, Condemned for the 1995 slayings of his ex-girlfriend and a male companion in Houston. His attorneys have made an 11th-hour attempt to obtain a stay, saying Buck is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because the one that put him on death row was tainted by racist testimony. An expert witness for the prosecution told the jury Buck was more likely to commit future violence because he is black. More background at executionwatch.org > Backpage on Duane Buck.

SHOW LINEUP
Host: RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded, and hosted for 30 years, the Prison Show on KPFT. His new show may be heard every weekday on hmsnetradio.org at 2 p.m. CT.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator and retired attorney, he’s a native Texan and  iconoclast who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution table and the defense table. His guests may include fellow attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: MEGHAN RYAN, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, she writes and teaches about the place where criminal law intersects with procedure, torts and science. Her recent work has included the question of how to remedy wrongful execution.

Reporter, Death House, Huntsville: GLORIA RUBAC, founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

Reporter, Vigil, Houston: DAVE ATWOOD, a board member and founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,  www.tcadp.org.

NEXT SCHEDULED EXECUTION
On Tuesday, Texas plans to execute CLEVE FOSTER,. If it does, Execution Watch will provide coverage, including a taped interview with Foster. Details: executionwatch.org

PRODUCER: Elizabeth Ann Stein, eliza.tx.usa @gmail.com.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Otis Maclay, omaclay @gmail.com.
STUDIO ENGINEER: Doyle.
THEME:  By Victoria Panetti, SheMonster International, myspace.com/shemonster.

(END)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prosecutor in Case Where Government Relied on Race Testimony at Trial Urges Texas Officials to Stop Duane Buck’s Execution

For Immediate Release:                                                Contacts: Kate Black, 303-818-0370
Monday, September 12, 2011                                         Laura Burstein, 202-626-6868                   

Prosecutor in Case Where Government Relied on Race Testimony at Trial Urges Texas Officials to Stop Duane Buck’s Execution

Houston, Texas, September 12, 2011 – Today, a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted Duane Buck is urging state officials to halt Mr. Buck’s execution next week because “[n]o individual should be executed without being afforded a fair trial, untainted by considerations of race.” Linda Geffin, who served as second-chair prosecutor in the State of Texas vs. Duane Buck in 1997, sent a letter this morning to Governor Rick Perry, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos, urging them to intervene and stop Mr. Buck’s September 15 execution.

In her letter, Ms. Geffin says she “felt compelled to step forward” after reading about the clemency petition and a motion in federal court recognizing that former Attorney General John Cornyn had previously acknowledged the “improper injection of race in the sentencing hearing in Mr. Buck's case.”

On May 5, 1997, Mr. Buck was convicted of capital murder in Harris County for the July 1995 shooting deaths of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler. A third person, Phyllis Taylor, was also shot, but survived her wound. Ms. Taylor has forgiven Mr. Buck and does not want him executed.

During Mr. Buck’s trial, psychologist Walter Quijano testified, based on several factors, that he did not believe Mr. Buck would be dangerous in the future. On cross-examination, the prosecutor elicited improper testimony from Dr. Quijano that the fact that Mr. Buck was African-American increased the likelihood of his being dangerous in the future. The State urged the jury in its closing argument to rely on Dr. Quijano’s testimony. The jury did so, found that Mr. Buck would be a future danger, and he was sentenced to death.

After Mr. Buck’s trial, but while his case was pending on appeal, on June 9, 2000, in a highly-unusual move, then-Attorney General John Cornyn issued a press release calling for the retrial of six individuals who had been sentenced to death based on improper introduction of, and reliance on, race as a factor in sentencing. The Attorney General identified Mr. Buck’s case as one of those six cases, stated that Texas would not contest federal appeals in those six cases, and that if the attorneys for the six identified defendants raised claims challenging the government’s reliance on race at sentencing, the Attorney General would not object.

Then-Attorney General Cornyn first confessed error based on the government’s reliance on Dr. Quijano’s testimony in the case of Victor SaldaƱo. The Attorney General stated: “As I explained in a filing before the United States Supreme Court...it is inappropriate to allow race to be considered as a factor in our criminal justice system....[T]he United States Supreme Court agreed. The people of Texas want and deserve a system that affords the same fairness to everyone.”

Despite this concession, the improper racial testimony in Mr. Buck’s case has not been redressed.  Mr. Buck is the only one of the six death row inmates identified by the Attorney General who was not granted an opportunity to have a colorblind sentencing. 

The clemency petition, which was filed on August 31, asks the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Perry to intervene.  In it, attorneys for Mr. Buck state: “Five out of the six cases in which Attorney General John Cornyn conceded error resulted in new sentencing hearings. Mr. Buck has not received the same corrective process. The State of Texas cannot and should not tolerate an execution on the basis of an individual’s race, particularly where this State’s highest legal officer has acknowledged the error, not only in similarly situated cases, but in this case.”

Ms. Geffin’s letter concludes: “I now join Phyllis Taylor, the surviving victim, in asking for the intervention of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos. All of these parties should be motivated, as I am, to do everything within their power to ensure that our justice system is not tainted by unconstitutional considerations of race.”

Ms. Geffin’s letter is attached.

The clemency petition can be found at: http://scr.bi/rnZxax.

An interview with surviving victim Phyllis Taylor can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/pAKStG

For more information or comment, please contact:

Kate Black, Texas Defender Service, attorney for Duane Buck, 713-222-7788, kateblack@texasdefender.org

 

Execution Watch: Steven Woods

                                                                  Steven woods



By Elizabeth Ann Stein
Producer, Execution Watch

Texas is poised to execute Steven Woods Tuesday despite pleas from Amnesty International, change.org and others to commute his sentence to life in prison. 
 
A letter urging members of Amnesty International to take action cites "serious inconsistencies in prosecution theories," as well as the "inherent unfairness in an outcome where one defendant receives a death sentence and another, who pleaded guilty to personally shooting the two victims, receives a life sentence."

Unless a stay is issued, Execution Watch will provide coverage starting at 6 p.m. Central Time Tuesday, including a 20-minute interview with Woods taped last week for airing if and when his execution is carried out, on KPFT FM 90.1 Houston and at www.executionwatch.org > Listen. Updates and discussion will be on the Execution Watch Facebook page.

TEXAS PLANS TO EXECUTE:
STEVEN MICHAEL WOODS, 31, condemned for a double homicide outside Dallas. A co-defendant later admitted killing the couple, saying Woods was present but did not participate. The co-defendant got life in prison; Woods' death sentence was allowed to stand despite the co-defendant's admission. More background at executionwatch.org > Backpage on Steven Michael Woods..

SHOW LINEUP
Host: RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded, and hosted for 30 years, the Prison Show on KPFT. His new show may be heard every weekday on hmsnetradio.org at 2 p.m. CT.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator and retired attorney, he’s a native Texan and  iconoclast who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution table and the defense table. His guests may include fellow attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: STEVEN MICHAEL WOODS. With Woods’ permission, volunteer staffers from Execution Watch went to death row and recorded an interview with him. If Woods is executed, the entire unedited, 20-minute interview will air as the featured interview.

Reporter, Death House, Huntsville: GLORIA RUBAC, founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

Reporter, Vigil, Houston: DAVE ATWOOD, a board member and founder of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, www.tcadp.org.

NEXT SCHEDULED EXECUTION
On Thursday, Texas plans to execute DUANE BUCK, despite the racist testimony that helped send him to death row. If it does, Execution Watch will broadcast. Details: executionwatch.org

PRODUCER: Elizabeth Ann Stein, eliza.tx.usa @gmail.com.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Otis Maclay, omaclay @gmail.com.
STUDIO ENGINEER: Luke Jones
THEME:  By Victoria Panetti, SheMonster International, myspace.com/shemonster.
*** Execution Watch is on Facebook, where listeners are invited to join the discussion.***

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Anthony Graves Responds to Clapping at GOP Debate in Approval of 234 Texas Executions

Anthony Graves asks "How can you applaud death?" in response to members of the audience at the GOP debate clapping and cheering about the 234 executions conducted under Rick Perry. We need to show the nation a counter example to the clapping at the GOP debate, so please make plans to attend the 12th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty. Come clap for justice, not killing. On October 22nd in Austin, it is our turn to clap and cheer when as many as 20-25 death row exonerees urge us to end the death penalty.

Watch video of people clapping at GOP debate.



From ABC News:
Anthony Graves read in the newspaper about the crowd at the Republican presidential debate applauding the fact that Gov. Rick Perry had authorized 234 executions during his tenure.
“How can you applaud death?” Graves asked.

Graves is one of 12 death row inmates who have been exonerated in Texas since 1973. Five of those exonerations occurred while Rick Perry was governor, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a group that opposes capital punishment.

“The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place in which when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court if that’s required,” Perry said during the debate Wednesday.

Perry defended the use of the death penalty in his state and told the audience, “I think Americans understand justice.”

But Graves said his mother would not be one of those Americans. Graves spent 18 years in prison and 12 years on death row as a convicted murder. In 2010 his conviction was overturned and he was released.

“He should ask my mother about that, ” he says. “She lost her son for 18 years.”

Graves says he was stunned at the governor’s comments because he was exonerated less than a year ago. “I was exonerated from the very same system that he is boasting about. He’s a politician, but I’m an exoneree and I think I know more about the subject.”