Showing posts with label Gov. Rick Perry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gov. Rick Perry. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2012

Execution Watch: Donnie Roberts 10/31


Donnie Roberts

On Halloween, Gov. Rick Perry will preside over his 250th execution when Donnie Roberts is put to death by lethal injection. Execution Watch will broadcast coverage and commentary.

RADIO SHOW PREVIEW
EXECUTION WATCH
Unless a stay is issued, we'll broadcast live:
Wed., Oct. 31, 2012, 6-7 PM Central Time
KPFT FM Houston 90.1, and Online...
http://executionwatch.org > Listen
Join the discussion on Facebook: Execution Watch

TEXAS PLANS TO EXECUTE:
DONNIE ROBERTS, condemned for the 2003 murder of his live-in girlfriend. Roberts’ appeal included his claim that the  judge should have let a defense expert  testify that his combined use of alcohol and drugs had fueled the crime. Background: www.executionwatch.org > Backpage on Roberts.

SHOW LINEUP
Host: RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded -- and hosted for 30 years -- The Prison Show on KPFT. His HMS radio show broadcasts each Wednesday at 2 p.m.: hmsnetradio.org.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator, retired attorney and native Texan who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution and defense tables. Joining him will be Houston criminal defense attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: SCOTT COBB, director of the Texas Moratorium Network. He has organized lobby days, conducted grassroots training, drafted anti-death penalty legislation and led protests against capital punishment. Cobb is a principle organizer of the annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty, scheduled for Nov. 3 in Austin. www.texasmoratorium.org

Reporter, Outside the Death House, Huntsville: PROF. DENNIS LONGMIRE, who teaches criminal justice at Sam Houston State University.

Reporter, Hanging-Tree Protest, Houston: GLORIA RUBAC, founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

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

NEXT SCHEDULED EXECUTION
On Nov. 8, Texas plans to kill MARIO SWAIN. Unless he gets a stay, we will broadcast.

PRODUCER: Elizabeth, eliza.tx.usa @gmail.com.
STUDIO ENGINEER: Doyle.
THEME:  By Victoria Panetti, SheMonster International, myspace.com/shemonster

Monday, October 22, 2012

Execution Watch: Bobby Hines 10/24

Bobby Hines

HUNTSVILLE, Texas --Bobby Hines is the next person whose name appears on the Texas hit list.

Unless Hines receives a stay, his will be the 249th execution under Gov. Rick Perry and the 11th of 2012. Execution Watch will provide coverage and comentary.


RADIO SHOW PREVIEW
EXECUTION WATCH
Unless a stay is issued, we'll broadcast live:
Wed., Oct. 24, 2012, 6-7 PM Central Time
KPFT FM Houston 90.1, HD3 and Online...
http://executionwatch.org > Listen
Join the discussion on Facebook: Execution Watch

TEXAS PLANS TO EXECUTE:
BOBBY HINES, 40, was condemned 20 years ago in the robbery-murder of a woman in Dallas. Hines was 19 at the time of the crime. If he does not receive a stay, his will be Texas’s 11th execution of 2012. Background at www.executionwatch.org > Backpage on Hines.

SHOW LINEUP
Host: RAY HILL, an ex-convict and activist who founded -- and hosted for 30 years -- The Prison Show on KPFT. His HMS radio show broadcasts each Wednesday at 2 p.m.: hmsnetradio.org.

Legal Analyst: JIM SKELTON, a legal educator, retired attorney and native Texan who has seen capital trials from both the prosecution and defense tables. Joining him will be Houston criminal defense attorneys SUSAN ASHLEY and LARRY DOUGLAS.

Featured Interview: PROF. RICHARD HOLLOWAY, director of criminal justice at Colorado Technical University, where he maintains a blog on the subject. He practiced law for a decade before beginning his teaching career at CTU, where he is a faculty member, program director and assistant director of Education. His areas of special interest include Constitutional law.

Reporter, Outside the Death House, Huntsville: PROF. DENNIS LONGMIRE, who teaches criminal justice at Sam Houston State University.

Reporter, Hanging Tree, Houston: GLORIA RUBAC, founder and leader, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, abolitionmovement.org.

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

NEXT SCHEDULED EXECUTION
On Oct. 31, Texas plans to kill DONNIE ROBERTS. Unless he gets a stay, we will broadcast.

PRODUCER: Elizabeth, eliza.tx.usa @gmail.com.
STUDIO ENGINEER: Doyle.
THEME:  By Victoria Panetti, SheMonster International, myspace.com/shemonster.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

TFSC panel must resist Bradley's efforts at sabotage

Todd Willingham's cousin (Particia Willingham Cox), and the Innocence Project's Barry Scheck have published the following op ed on Tuesday's Houston Chronicle accusing John Bradley, the Williamson County DA and Perry's appointed puppet to the Texas Forensic Science Commission of trying to halt the investigation of the science in old arson cases.
In May 2006, we asked the TFSC to undertake this inquiry about arson evidence. We submitted a 48-page report from an independent panel of the nation’s leading arson investigators, which concluded that the scientific analysis used to convict Willingham was not valid. The commissioners then engaged their own national expert to review the matter, who agreed that the forensic analysis used to convict Willingham was wrong — and further, that experts who testified at Willingham’s trial should have known it was wrong at the time. Days before that expert was to present his findings, Perry removed three commissioners, including the chair, Sam Bassett, and appointed Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley as the new chair. Bradley immediately shut down the Willingham hearing.
In an op-ed on these pages last November, Bradley denied charges that his actions were politically motivated and decried those “[who] have made exaggerated claims and drawn premature conclusions about the case.” He then assured Texans that the commission’s investigation “will be completed” using a “disciplined, scientific approach.” Instead, what we have seen so far is not a review of scientific issues but a bureaucratic effort to undermine, if not end, the Willingham inquiry by rewriting the commission’s rules and its jurisdiction.
Last week, after closed meetings that may violate the Texas Open Meetings Act, Bradley sent out an unsigned legal memo instructing commissioners that they have a “relatively narrow investigative jurisdiction.”
Employing “Catch-22” logic, he claimed that commissioners lack the “discretion or power” to investigate evidence that was not from a laboratory accredited by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) — which, as it happens, did not accredit labs before 2003, years after the Willingham fire. By this reasoning, the TFSC cannot review any pre-2003 matter, such as the Houston Police Department crime lab evidence, the scandal that gave rise to its formation.
In 2008, the TFSC carefully considered the jurisdiction question, and, with assent from the Attorney General’s office, determined that the Willingham and other old cases like it are well within its authority.
And rightly so: The Willingham inquiry into the use of unreliable arson analysis is an urgent matter for more than 600 people incarcerated in Texas whose arson convictions may have been based on invalid science. If its investigation is derailed, the commissioners would be turning their backs on these potentially innocent Texans.
Rather than becoming mired in bureaucratic shell games, the commissioners should take their cue from the FBI, which, after learning that a scientific test it used for three decades to do composite bullet lead analysis was unreliable, not only stopped using this flawed science but systematically reviewed its old cases and notified prosecutors across the country when it could no longer stand behind the testimony of its own agent examiners. The same should be done in this instance.
The people of Texas deserve a justice system they can believe in. But if commissioners keep allowing Bradley to rewrite the rules and sabotage the commission’s mission, their ability to redress the forensic problems that have plagued the criminal justice system in Texas will never materialize.
According to Grits for Breakfast, "Such transparent stalling tactics have been his modus operandi since the day Bradley was appointed to the chairman's slot."

Rick Perry's Puppet John Bradley Tells CNN "New York Lawyers" are Politicizing Forensic Science Commission's Work

Our members and others are in Houston this morning to attend the meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. We intend to let Rick Perry's appointed chair/puppet John Bradley know that it is Texans, not just "New York lawyers", who are concerned that our state government suffered an epic FAIL and may have executed an innocent person. We demand the investigation into the Willingham case be made the highest priority of the Commission and of the State government of Texas.

If Rick Perry had done his job properly as governor, the people of Texas would not have to be worried now that an innocent person has been executed in our names. The only person who has politicized the work of the Texas Forensic Science Commission is Texas Governor Rick Perry.

From CNN:
(CNN) -- A Texas state board is set Friday to revisit questions surrounding a controversial 2004 execution, with supporters of the man's family warning the panel is trying to bury its own critical review of the case.
Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for a fire that killed his three daughters. Prosecutors argued that Willingham deliberately set the 1991 blaze -- but three reviews of the evidence by outside experts have found the fire should not have been ruled arson.
The last of those reports was ordered by the Texas Forensic Sciences Commission, which has been looking into Willingham's execution since 2008. But a September 2009 shake-up by Texas Gov. Rick Perry has kept that panel from reviewing the report, and the commission's new chairman has ordered a review of its operating rules. Critics say that may kill the probe.
"They are attempting permanently to keep the investigation from continuing and moving on, and I do believe it's because they don't like the direction the evidence is leading," Willingham's cousin, Pat Cox, said Thursday.
The Forensic Science Commission's chairman is now John Bradley, an Austin-area district attorney with a reputation as a staunch supporter of the death penalty. Bradley has pledged to state lawmakers that the Willingham investigation "absolutely" will continue -- but said the panel needs better rules to guide its work, and could not say when the Willingham issue would move forward.
Thursday, he told CNN that concerns of Willingham's supporters were based on "a lot of misinformation."
"I think that's being used very much as a side issue to politicize, through some New York lawyers, the work of the commission," Bradley said. "The commission has been very clear that the commission is going to address the merits of the Willingham case."
The panel meets again Friday in Houston, and one of the items on its agenda is a legal opinion arguing that the panel has "relatively narrow investigative jurisdiction." The unsigned memorandum argues that the commission's mandate covers only cases on which a state-accredited forensic laboratory worked.
But because Texas started accrediting crime labs in 2003, Cox and others who have backed the family say that would mean cases such as Willingham's and that of another inmate, Ernest Willis, would be dropped. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, who pushed for the commission's creation, calls the opinion flawed.
The Forensic Sciences Commission "was operating within the language and intent of the law when it determined that it had jurisdiction to investigate the case the first time in August 2008," Ellis said in a written statement to CNN. "Frankly, I am surprised that the commission is even questioning whether or not it has jurisdiction, since it unanimously decided -- with the attorney general's representative in the room -- to review the cases over two years ago."
Ellis, a Houston Democrat, serves as the chairman of the board of The Innocence Project -- the "New York lawyers" that have supported efforts by Willingham's stepmother and cousins to clear his name. The group advocates for prisoners it says are wrongly convicted, and Ellis said the commission's work "is too important to be bogged down in political bickering."
"Texans need the FSC to perform its work in a timely manner, so the public can once again have confidence in forensic evidence and confidence that the truly guilty are behind bars and the innocent are free," he said.
But Bradley said the commission has never decided to apply the logic of the legal opinion to the case on Friday's agenda.
Bradley was named the panel's chairman two days before the Forensic Sciences Commission was to hear from Craig Beyler, a Maryland-based fire science expert. Beyler concluded the arson finding at the heart of the Willingham case "could not be sustained," either by current standards or those in place at the time.
The Innocence Project requested the investigation after a report it commissioned reached the same conclusion. Death-penalty opponents say an impartial review of Willingham's case could lead to the unprecedented admission that the state executed an innocent man.
Perry, who signed off on Willingham's execution, is up for re-election in November, and his critics have accused him of trying to short-circuit that review. Perry has said he remains confident of the condemned man's guilt, and police in the town of Corsicana, where the fire occurred, say other evidence beyond the arson testimony Beyler criticized supports the prosecution.
Cox, a retired nurse in Ardmore, Oklahoma, told CNN that spiking the commission's investigation would be a "blatant miscarriage of justice."
"The reasonable people of this country and the state of Texas can see through what this is," she said.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Todd Willingham Case: Public Comment Period at Next Meeting of Texas Forensic Science Commission April 23 in Dallas Area

The Texas Forensic Science Commission has posted its agenda for its meeting in Irving, Texas on April 23, 2010 at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas, 221 E. Las Colinas Blvd, Irving, Texas (Map and directions). The meeting starts at 9:30 AM, but is expected to last all day and the public comment period will be at the end of the meeting.

The agenda includes a period to accept comments from the public, although the proposed new rules on public comments say that the public comment period may be eliminated, reduced or postponed "if deemed necessary due to time constraints or other exigent circumstances". Each commenter will be given three minutes and must fill out a form and give it to the commission coordinator before the meeting.

Students Against the Death Penalty plans to attend the April 23 meeting and we encourage members of the public who wish to make comments to the commission to attend also. The commission needs to hear that the public wants them to speed up the process of investigating the Todd Willingham case and discussing the report given to the commission by Dr Craig Beyler, so that Texas can determine whether faulty forensic science lead to the wrongful conviction and execution of an innocent person.


Agenda for Texas Forensic Science Commission Meeting April 23, 2010

Rick Casey expects no major progress in the investigation until after the November election. He says in his Houston Chronicle column today:


The commission just posted its agenda for next week's meeting, again drawn up by Bradley though this time honoring some suggestions from commissioners. The first item: approval of Bradley's nominations for a number of committees, including an “investigative panel” for the Willingham case.
For that three-member panel, Bradley called his own number. The other two are Dr. Nizam Peerwani of the Tarrant County medical examiner's office and Sarah Kerrigan, the Scotland Yard-trained head of the forensic science graduate program at Sam Houston State University. Peerwani is one of Perry's new appointees. Kerrigan has been critical of Bradley's leadership.

Little progress expected

The group's first meeting is set for next Thursday, the day before the commission's meeting. Since it is scheduled for just two hours and is not expected to hear from Beyler or any other witnesses, don't look for it to advance the process much.
Bradley said he had planned to have the commission question Beyler at the October meeting, hear from critics of his report at the February meeting and then produce a final commission report by the spring or summer.
He said the nine members of the commission, a much smaller body than most congressional committees, were comfortable handling the matter as a whole.
If Bradley wanted to press the matter, I suppose he could push the investigative panel to produce a report by the July meeting and take action then or at the October meeting.
But to expect that, I suspect, would be doubly naive.
Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast wrote a post critical of Bradley for creating the new three-person committee for the Willingham case instead of allowing the full commission to deal with it and for appointing himself as one of the members. Henson also suggested how the other commission members should handle the situation by making a motion to reconsider.
If one believes - as admittedly I do - that the Governor ousted his old appointees last fall and replaced them with Bradley and Co. for the purpose of scuttling the Willingham inquiry until after the election, then these new rules and committee assignments set them up admirably to accomplish the task. Particularly telling was the chairman's brazen decision to assign himself to the committee assessing the Willingham case. From the Startlegram: "The notion that he would be on this particular committee in light of everything that has gone on in the last year is particularly inappropriate," said Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth. "A suspicious mind would be concerned about nefarious activities."

Burnam's right about Bradley and the appearance of neutrality. The Williamson County DA has already been sharply, publicly critical of the arson expert commissioned to investigate the lack of scientific rigor in the evidence presented at the Willingham trial. Bradley even tried to prevent the scientist from testifying before a legislative committee that requested his views on the role of expert testimony unrelated to the case.

What's more, a second member of the three-person committee, Dr. Peerwani, was also appointed last fall after the Governor interceded tochange the direction of the commission. So two of the three committee members evaluating the Willingham case were people who, by all appearances, were appointed to the Commission primarily to impede the investigation, not get to the bottom of the matter. Given that, there's a decent chance the thing never gets voted out of committee - that's what I'd do if I just wanted to kill it.

That's why, IMO someone on the commission should bone up on their parliamentary procedure and make a "motion to reconsider" at their next meeting later this month, because they were sold a pig in a poke. The Commission made the decision to create this new committee structure based on false pretenses, believing it wouldn't apply to pending cases. I was liveblogging the hearing at the time, and here's how I recorded the exchange on whether the Willingham case would go through the new committee process:

Dr. Kerrigan asked whether these rules apply to pending cases or new ones. Good question! Bradley said new or recent cases would be affected but not those already in the pipeline. A commissioner asked particularly whether cases where they'd already spent money on outside consultants would now have to go through the new process. Bradley said "no."
Later, though, just before the meeting ended:

Bradley backtracked after the rules passed to say old cases like Todd Willingham's in fact will go through his new committee process. That's a complete 180-degree flip from what he told the commission members twenty minutes ago, back when Commissioner Kerrigan told the chair her vote depended on his answer.
The next day, in a post reviewing the meeting, I accused Bradley of:

Dissembling: When a commissioner told the chairman her vote hinged on whether old cases already in the pipeline - including ones where the Commission had already paid outside consultants (there are only two) - would be subjected to the new committee process, Bradley said no, they would not. After the vote, when the meeting had nearly ended, Bradley insisted that Willingham's case must go through "part of" the new committee process. If he'd been honest about that during the debate, IMO a majority of commissioners present wouldn't have supported his rules.
That's sufficient reason to initiate a motion to reconsider, which is allowable under Robert's Rules if the motion is made by anyone - say, Dr. Kerrigan or her allies on the board - who voted for the rules at the last meeting. I think the Commission should reconsider and clarify the rules to have pending, longstanding cases bypass this new committee, which is what they were told would happen before they voted to create it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Write, Fax or Call Governor Rick Perry - Demand a Stay and DNA testing for Hank Skinner

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Fax: 512-463-1849

Main number: 512-463-2000
Website email contact form/ http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact/

or use the online letter signing page set up by the Innocence Project
here:
http://www.change.org/innocence_project/actions/view/order_dna_testing_for_hankskinner


THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

All the details of the case are available on the website, however, here are some of the points you can raise:

Hank was sentenced to die on the basis of a perjured testimony and circumstancial evidence.

The accusation theory relied on that one witness, who later recanted and explained how she was threatened to make a false statement to the police and give a deposition at trial which was based on a script supplied by the district attorney's office.

Both the State's star witnesses (Andrea Reed & Howard Mitchell) have testified that they believe Hank to be innocent.

The little forensic analysis done before his trial excluded him as the killer.

The additional and minimum testing done during his post conviction appeals excluded him too.

The available scientific evidence proves his physical incapacitation at the time of the crime.

The important quantity of evidence remaining to be tested is essential to reveal the truth about his innocence.

His motions for DNA testing have been denied although he has always offered to pay for the costs.

The state of Texas has a very poor record in terms of wrongful convictions and DNA exonerations.

The interest of justice is to find out the truth and to not execute an innocent.

The state is withholding the untested evidence that can prove Hank's innocence.

All three of the previous D.A.s have publicly stated that they believe the evidence needs to be tested.

The D.A. has admitted in Ch 64 DNA pleadings that the evidence is in a condition making testing possible, that the chain of custody has been maintained, that the evidence is capable of providing a probative result and idendity is an issue in Hank's case.

Texas should not execute a man it does not know for a fact to be guilty. After Andrea Reed's recantation, according to the state own's experts, the remaining evidence does nothing to prove guilt at all.

The A.G has stated through his spokesman that it would violate the constitution to murder someone who is innocent - that has got to apply equally to someone they do not know for a fact to be guilty.

http://www.hankskinner.org

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Call Texas Governor to Protest Today's Execution, Then Go Vote if You Live in Texas

Today is election day in Texas and there is also an execution scheduled in Texas today. Rick Perry is seeking re-election as Governor. He is running today in the Republican primary against two main Republican challengers. There is also an election in the Democratic primary. Today's execution will be the 450th execution in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s. It will be the 211th execution in Texas since Perry became governor in 2000. The name of the person scheduled for execution today is Michael Sigala. Please call Perry at (512) 463-1782 or email the governor and state your opposition to the death penalty and urge him to support a moratorium on executions.

If you live in Texas, there is an election today, so go vote for the candidates of your choice. Then go back to your voting location at 7:15 pm for the precinct convention and take an anti-death penalty resolution.
Help Us Pass Moratorium and Abolition Resolutions at Party Precinct Conventions

The Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Republican Party will hold precinct conventions on Tuesday March 2 at 7:15 PM. The Democratic precinct conventions are open to anyone who votes in today's Texas Democratic primary and the Republican precinct conventions are open to anyone who votes in today's Republican primary. People attending the conventions can take resolutions to the conventions to be voted on. If the resolutions pass at the precinct conventions, they go to the county or senatorial district conventions on March 20, and if they are approved on March 20, they will go to the state convention in June for consideration. We got the Texas Democratic Party to pass a moratorium resolution at the state convention in 2004 and to include support for a moratorium in the TDP platform in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

You can read drafts of our proposed resolutions below. Feel free to use them as is, change them or write your own versions. The important thing is to take some sort of anti-death penalty resolution to your precinct convention and get it approved. We have versions for both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, so use one or the other depending if you vote Democratic or Republican.

In 2008, the resolutions committee at the Texas Democratic Party State Convention approved a resolution to abolish the death penalty, but the resolution did not get taken up by the floor of the convention before the convention adjourned. But it was a major success to get the abolition resolution approved by the committee.

The TDP state convention this year is in Corpus Christi June 25th and 26th. The first step to being a state convention delegate is to attend your precinct convention on March 2. If you attend the precinct conventions tonight, you can run to get elected a delegate to the senatorial district convention and then to the state convention.

There will be a "Democrats Against the Death Penalty" caucus meeting at the TDP State Convention. The caucus was started in 2004 by TMN's Scott Cobb. In 2008, there was a record overflow turnout at the caucus of probably 300 people.

Print and take to your precinct conventions:
Texas Democratic Party Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on Executions
WHEREAS Texas leads the nation in executions with 449 since 1982 (as of February 1, 2010). The frequency of executions and inadequacies in our criminal justice system increase the risk that an innocent person will be executed and because the execution of an innocent person by the State of Texas would be a grave injustice and would undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS there is a significant risk that innocence cases in Texas are not being discovered, and innocent persons both reside on death row and could be wrongly executed in a system of capital punishment that often escapes governmental scrutiny and meaningful judicial review; and

WHEREAS an innocent person may already have been executed by Texas. The Chicago Tribune reported on December 9, 2004 that a Corsicana, Texas man named Cameron Todd Willingham may have been innocent of the arson/murder for which he was executed on February 17, 2004. A state-funded report commissioned by the Texas Forensic Science Commission written by fire expert Dr Craig Beyler said that “
a finding of arson could not be sustained” in the Willingham case. Beyler said that key testimony from a fire marshal at Willingham's trial was "hardly consistent with a scientific mind-set and is more characteristic of mystics or psychics”; and
WHEREAS Rick Perry received information prior to the execution of Todd Willingham that cast serious doubt on the scientific validity of forensic evidence used to convict Willingham, but Perry refused to issue a 30 day stay of execution to give more time for the evidence to be analyzed; and
WHEREAS Rick Perry interfered with an investigation into the Willingham case when he replaced the chair and all of his gubernatorial appointees to the Texas Forensic Science Commission only days before a scheduled hearing about a report submitted to the commission by Dr Craig Beyler; and
WHEREAS the Houston Chronicle reported on November 19, 2005 that a San Antonio man named Ruben Cantu may have been innocent of the crime for which he was executed on August 24, 1993 and the Chicago Tribune reported on June 24, 2006 that a Corpus Christi man named Carlos De Luna may have been innocent of the crime for which he was executed on December 7 1989; and

WHEREAS eleven people have been exonerated of murder and released from Texas Death Row and 139 people have been exonerated and released from death rows in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970's; and
WHEREAS local taxpayers can be faced with the financial burden of settling lawsuits when innocent people are wrongfully convicted or executed because of problems in the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS seeking a death sentence costs three times more than the cost of seeking life without parole.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party supports a moratorium on executions and the creation of a “Texas Capital Punishment Commission” to study the administration of capital punishment in Texas to correct any injustices or unfair processes that are found in the administration of the death penalty and to study how to eliminate the risk of innocent people being convicted and executed.

Texas Democratic Party Resolution to Abolish the Death Penalty

Whereas the death penalty system is a human system that makes errors;
Whereas Texas has sent innocent people to death row;
Whereas it is impossible to correct the error of a wrongful conviction once someone has been executed;
Whereas Texas as of 2005 has life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty;
Whereas the death penalty is applied unevenly throughout the state of Texas;
Whereas the death penalty discriminates against the poor and racial minorities;
Whereas the death penalty does not deter others from committing violent crime;
Whereas the death penalty costs 2 to 3 times more to implement than life without parole;
Therefore be it resolved that the Texas Democratic Party supports abolishing the death penalty in Texas and using the money saved by abolition to help victims of crime and to implement crime prevention measures that are truly effective.

Texas Republican Party Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on Executions

WHEREAS Texas leads the nation in executions with 449 since 1982 (as of February 1, 2010). The frequency of executions and inadequacies in our criminal justice system increase the risk that an innocent person will be executed and because the execution of an innocent person by the State of Texas would be a grave injustice and would undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS there is a significant risk that innocence cases in Texas are not being discovered, and innocent persons both reside on death row and could be wrongly executed in a system of capital punishment that often escapes governmental scrutiny and meaningful judicial review; and

WHEREAS an innocent person may already have been executed by Texas. The Chicago Tribune reported on December 9, 2004 that a Corsicana, Texas man named Cameron Todd Willingham may have been innocent of the arson/murder for which he was executed on February 17, 2004. A state-funded report commissioned by the Texas Forensic Science Commission written by fire expert Dr Craig Beyler said that “
a finding of arson could not be sustained” in the Willingham case. Beyler said that key testimony from a fire marshal at Willingham's trial was "hardly consistent with a scientific mind-set and is more characteristic of mystics or psychics”; and



WHEREAS the Houston Chronicle reported on November 19, 2005 that a San Antonio man named Ruben Cantu may have been innocent of the crime for which he was executed on August 24, 1993 and the Chicago Tribune reported on June 24, 2006 that a Corpus Christi man named Carlos De Luna may have been innocent of the crime for which he was executed on December 7 1989; and

WHEREAS eleven people have been exonerated of murder and released from Texas Death Row and 139 people have been exonerated and released from death rows in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970's; and
WHEREAS local taxpayers can be faced with the financial burden of settling lawsuits when innocent people are wrongfully convicted or executed because of problems in the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS seeking a death sentence costs three times more than the cost of seeking life without parole.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Texas Republican Party supports a moratorium on executions and the creation of a “Texas Capital Punishment Commission” to study the administration of capital punishment in Texas to correct any injustices or unfair processes that are found in the administration of the death penalty and to study how to eliminate the risk of innocent people being convicted and executed.

Texas Republican Party Resolution to Abolish the Death Penalty
Whereas the death penalty system is a human system that makes errors;
Whereas Texas has sent innocent people to death row;
Whereas it is impossible to correct the error of a wrongful conviction once someone has been executed;
Whereas Texas as of 2005 has life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty;
Whereas the death penalty is applied unevenly throughout the state of Texas;
Whereas the death penalty discriminates against the poor and racial minorities;
Whereas the death penalty does not deter others from committing violent crime;
Whereas the death penalty costs 2 to 3 times more to implement than life without parole;
Therefore be it resolved that the Texas Republican Party supports abolishing the death penalty in Texas and using the money saved by abolition to help victims of crime and to implement crime prevention measures that are truly effective.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Anti-Death Penalty Protesters Interrupt Rick Perry at Appearance in Denton

From the Denton Record-Chronicle:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a short stop in Denton Friday morning, during the “crush and rush” of campaigning leading up to the primary election on March 2, with early voting already under way.

Perry, a Republican seeking his third four-year term as governor, greeted more than 100 Denton County residents — most of whom were invited by Perry’s campaign through e-mail — at the Jupiter House coffee shop on the Square.

He debated against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and GOP activist Debra Medina at the University of North Texas last month.

Frank Phillips, the county’s elections administrator, said Friday that 4,566 Denton County voters had cast ballots so far — 4,087 Republicans and 479 Democrats.

Perry said Denton County will be important for Republican candidates to win.

“Denton is a very dynamic community. … It’s a powerful GOP stronghold,” he said.

As Perry walked into Jupiter House, about a dozen protesters who were littered throughout the audience started clapping and yelling “Death row, hell no!”

The owners quickly and physically escorted the protesters out of the shop, but they continued to protest with banners on the sidewalk.

UNT student Laura Lamb, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said her fellow protesters attended the event to publicly disagree with Perry and his stance on capital punishment.

“We do not support state-sponsored murder,” Lamb said.
Also last November UNT students greeted Rick Perry at a fund-raising in Denton. Pictures by Liz Vilén.