Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hundreds march for Kenneth Foster

Hundreds of Texans marched down the Congress Avenue and later at the Governor's Manssion last Saturday calling on Gov. Rick Perry to stop execution of Kenneth Foster. As Scott Cobb of TMN mentioned, "The rally for Kenneth Foster last Saturday was probably the best, most well-attended, high energy protest of a pending execution in Texas since the Gary Graham protests back in 2000." The event received coverage on Democracy Now, KXAN, News 8 Austin and The Daily Texan. I will have some video clips from the rally by tomorrow.

Also last Sunday San Antonio Express-News published an OpEd by Prof.
Roger C. Barnes of the Incarnate Word University.

Further, for 15 straight years, murder rates have run higher in death penalty states than in states without it. This system doesn't function as promised.

And there is growing evidence that people are starting to catch on.

First, a national Gallup Poll now reports that overall support for the death penalty has slipped from 80 percent in 1994 to 67 percent in 2006.

And, when given a choice between life without parole and the death penalty for murder, 48 percent now favor life without parole, compared to 47 percent for those who favor death.

Second, some newspapers are reversing their longstanding support for the death penalty. The Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News and Birmingham News are calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

Many others such as the Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have called for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Third, the willingness of capital juries to hand down death sentences appears to be on the decline. In 1996 there were 317 death sentences given nationwide. By 2005, death verdicts had declined to 128.

Fourth, while 12 states do not have the death penalty, an additional 12 states with the death penalty now find their executions on hold.

Legal challenges to the methods of execution, official moratoriums, or a ruling by the state high court have suspended executions in those states.

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