Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Civil Disobedience Planned to Mark 35th Anniversary of Executions At U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                                                         CONTACT:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                  SCOTT LANGLEY
16 January 2012                                                                                                      518-249-8094 (mobile)         

Civil Disobedience Planned to Mark 35th Anniversary of Executions
At U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC

9:45 am Wednesday – Press briefing at the United Methodist Building, Location: 100 Maryland Avenue, NE (next to U.S. Supreme Court)

WASHINGTON -- Thirty-five years after the execution of Gary Gilmore, the first execution under contemporary laws, members of the Abolitionist Action Committee will stage a highly visual demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 17. 

Participants from Texas, South Carolina, Virginia, DC, Utah, Kansas and New York will peacefully and visibly call for an immediate cessation of all executions in the United States through civil disobedience and the risk of arrest. 

One of the participants will be Randy Gardner, whose brother, like Gilmore, was executed in Utah by firing squad.  "My Brother Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed June 18th 2010 by the same state, by the same method as Gilmore.  I believed then, and I still believe now, that the death penalty is morally wrong.  I'm here to help abolish the death penalty by protesting in any shape or form." 

Thirty years ago, on January 17, 1977, the State of Utah shot to death Gary Gilmore, who "volunteered" to be killed in revenge for his murder of Ben Bushnell and Max Jenson.  This state-assisted suicide was the first execution under the Supreme Court’s upholding of the death penalty in 1976.

Since 1997, a total of 34 arrests have been made of death penalty abolitionists for unfurling banners that read "STOP EXECUTIONS!" on the stairs leading to the front doors of the U.S. Supreme Court.  January 17th, 2017 will be the next installment of the every-five-year action. 

To date there have been 1278 executions in the U.S. since 1977, with others consecutively scheduled on January 18, 19 and 20 in Ohio, Kentucky and Delaware, respectively.  Texas has seven executions scheduled this winter.

Despite the continued use of the death penalty, the tide is turning.  “A year ago we saw Illinois repeal their death penalty. The year before that it was New Mexico. Before that, New Jersey and New York.  We are seeing a dramatic decrease in both death sentences and executions nationwide, and we are winning.  Now is the time to end this practice once and for all,” said Scott Langley, Abolitionist Action Committee organizer for the January 17th action.

The Abolitionist Action Committee is an ad-hoc group of individuals committed to highly visible and effective public education for alternatives to the death penalty through nonviolent direct action.

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