• SAVE THE LIFE OF ROBERT GARZA! Texas death row prisoner convicted under the unjust Law of Parties!

    We need everyone to send letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Texas Governor for Robert Garza!

    Robert has an execution date of September 19th and was convicted under the Texas Law of Parites. All legal avenues are being pursued in Robert's case and we are hoping for the chance of a stay over the next month.

    HOWEVER, without a stay, winning clemency will be the only chance we have to save Robert's life.

    Robert's family has fought hard over the years, both for their loved one, but also against the Law of Parties and on behalf of other death row prisoners and their families.

    We are asking that everyone step forward now to save Robert's life.

    We have created two sample clemency letters. If you have the time, it is better to create a letter in your own words, but these letters can be used as a template or as they are are written.

    The most important thing is to send in as many letters as possible. The addresses for the Parole Board and the Governor are included at the top of each letter:

    Board of Pardons and Paroles:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-Y9tEVffeGo8S1dXjjPKMVGr6NhUC7XO60O8OqTzNFI/edit?usp=sharing

    You can email them your letter at bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us

    Governor Rick Perry:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/13m1x5wK1ThGzXyqjnHX2zOskZ8tb206yn7kdmdIAxRw/edit?usp=sharing

    You send an email using this webform: http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/

    Tell your friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/548835071832193/

    Read more...
  • A call for World-wide Days of Action to Protest Texas' 500th Execution

    As of now, Texas' 500th execution in the modern era will take place on June 12.

    The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, the Texas Moratorium Network, Kids Against the Death Penalty and the Austin Chapter of Campaign to End the Death Penalty are issuing a call for World-wide Days of Action to Protest Texas' 500th Execution.

    Whether you hold a sign, write a letter, march, issue a press statement, rally, picket, sit in or hold a die-in, do something to protest this abhorrent Texas milestone. Take a photo of your action and e-mail it to Abolition.Movement@hotmail.com and we will put it on the web page of each organization as well as send copies to Gov. Rick Perry, members of the Texas legislature, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and the Texas death row warden at the Polunsky Unit.

    We want endorsers for this call for a World-wide Day of Action to Protest Texas' 500th Execution. Can you or your organization add your name to endorse the call? Can you plan an action in your locale? Let us know.

    We encourage abolitionists in Houston to take off work or school and go to Huntsville on the day of the 500th execution. A bus will leave from the S.H.A.P.E. Center, 3815 Live Oak at 2:00 PM. $10 for the bus and $5 for seniors and students. The execution is at 6:00 PM.

    TEXAS EXECUTION SCHEDULE

    TX # Perry# Date Name TDCJ # DOB Race Date Rec’d County

    493 254 2/21 Carl

    Blue R.I.P. 999151 1/19/65 Black 6/14/95 Brazos

    494 255 4/9 Ricky Lewis R.I.P. 999097 7/2/62 Black 5/6/94 Smith

    495 256 4/16 Ronnie

    Threadgill RIP 999424 2/20/73 Black 7/22/02 Navarro

    496 257 4/25 Richard Cobb 999467 4/2/84 White 1/23/04 Cherokee

    497 258 5/7 Carroll Parr 999479 10/18/77 Black 6/4/04 McLennan

    498 259 5/15 Jefferey Williams 999350 12/16/75 Black 3/29/00 Harris

    499 260 5/21 Robert Pruett 999411 9/18/79 White 4/30/02 Bee

    500 261 6/12 Elroy Chester 999280 6/14/69 Black 8/26/98 Jefferson

    501 262 6/26 Kimberly McCarthy 999287 5/11/61 Black 12/7/98 Dallas

    502 263 7/10 Rigoberto Avila, Jr. 999391 8/5/72 Latino 7/19/01 El Paso

    503 264 7/16 John Quintanilla 999491 12/9/76 Latino 12/8/04 Victoria

    504 265 7/18 Vaughn Ross 999429 9/4/71 Black 10/1/02 Lubbock

    505 266 7/31 Douglas Feldman 999326 6/19/58 white 9/22/99 Dallas

    506 267 9/19 Robert Garza 999466 5/15/83 Latino 12/18/03 Hidalgo

    507 268 9/26 Arturo Diaz 999345 12/27/75 Latino 2/22/00 Hidalgo

    ·

    EXECUTION

    CAPITAL OF

    THE COUNTRY

    World-wide Protests Against Texas’ 500th

    execution, now set for Wednesday, June 12. The Abolition Movement will take a bus to

    Huntsville to protest the 500th execution. Bus will leave S.H.A.P.E.

    Center at 2:00 PM. $10 for the bus, $5 for seniors & students. Plan now to

    join us!

    ·

    RACIST!

    The majority of people on death row are African American (40%) and Latino

    (30%).

    ·

    ANTI-IMMIGRANT!

    Twenty-two people on Texas death row are not U.S. citizens and were not given

    the right to see the consulate of their country as required under the Vienna

    Convention which is international law.

    CRUEL & UNUSUAL All of the 275 men on Texas

    death row live in solitary confinement 24/7. They are locked behind a solid

    steel door & leave their cells for showers, recreation alone, or visits.

    Mental illness, self-mutilation and severe depression is the result.

    ·

    EXECUTION

    HISTORY Between 1819 & 1923 executions

    were by hanging in the town square. The electric chair was introduced when five

    African Americans were executed on Feb. 8, 1924. From then until 1964, 361 people

    were electrocuted in Huntsville. Lethal injection

    adopted in 1977. 1st victim--Charlie

    Brooks, killed on Dec. 7, 1982. Texas is now nearing 500 executions done by

    lethal injection. Five hundred legal lynchings! Take off work or school and

    join the protest!

    ·

    PROTEST

    with us in Huntsville on execution day. Leave at 3PM from S.H.A.P.E.

    Center, 3815 Live Oak.

    THE DEATH PENALTY:

    -RACIST!

    -USED ONLY AGAINST THE POOR!

    -EXECUTES THE INNOCENT!

    Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement

    http://www.AbolitionMovement.org

    713-503-2633 Abolition.Movement@hotmail.com

    Meetings: 1st Tuesdays, 7—9 PM

    S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, 3815 Live Oak at Alabama, Houston 77004

    Read more...
  • 2013 Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty by Gloria Rubac

    Death Penalty abolitionists from around Texas gathered Wednesday at the Texas Capitol for their bi-annual Texas Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty and Day of Innocence. Activists and death row families visited every legislator on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Senate Criminal Justice Committee as well as their own senators and representatives.

    The anachronistic and very unfair Law of Parties bills were very well received by most and there could be a hearing next Tuesday on those bills. They would change Texas law so that a person could not be executed if arrested under the Law of Parties if they were not the shooter. Right now in Texas dozens of people sit on death row who killed NO ONE!

    Particularly powerful presentations were provided by Sylvia Garza from the Rio grand Valley. Her son Robert was not even at the crime scene and killed no one. Yet Bobby has been on death row for ten years and his appeal was turned down by the US Supreme Court in February. He could receive an execution date at any moment.

    Legislators also paid rapt attention to information by Clarence Brandley who spent ten years on death row before he was finally freed. He has never received the compensation he deserves for his years of terror in Huntsville, coming within days of execution two times.

    The press conference reported on in the article below was opened with a moving statement by State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston who said he was ridiculed when he first introduced his bill to abolish the death penalty over a decade ago. "My father told me to always stand up for what was right, so when I was asked 'Are you crazy?' for proposing Texas end executions, it didn't bother me because I was doing what is right."

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/14/4681491/im-a-21st-century-abolitionist.html

    Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    Burnam declares, 'I'm a 21st-century abolitionist and I'm proud of it'

    By Dave Montgomery | dmontgomery@...

    AUSTIN -- With Texas moving closer to its 500th execution, Rep. Lon Burnam on Wednesday described himself as a "21st-century abolitionist" and denounced the death penalty as "a gross example of institutionalized racism."

    The Fort Worth Democrat joined other death penalty opponents in a "Day of Innocence" to promote legislation to repeal capital punishment. They acknowledged that they are overwhelmingly outnumbered in a state that leads the nation in executions but nevertheless vowed to keep on fighting.

    "We are right and the people who are on the other side are wrong," Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, told about a dozen death penalty opponents in a legislative committee room. "Don't be discouraged. ... Today we have a new beginning."

    Dutton filed his first anti-death penalty bill 10 years ago to stop what he called the "madness" of executions. "Every time I read in the paper that they executed somebody, I as a legislator take full responsibility," he said. "Everybody in the Legislature had a part in it because we didn't stop it."

    Burnam, the senior member of Tarrant County's 11-member House delegation, drew applause as he told fellow death penalty opponents: "I'm a 21st-century abolitionist and I'm proud of it."

    "There is no more gross example of institutionalized racism in this state today than in the death penalty," Burnam asserted, saying that prisoners put to death in Texas are overwhelmingly poor and "people of color."

    Of the 287 inmates now on Death Row, according to the Texas Department of Corrections, 40 percent are black and 30 percent are Hispanic.

    Texas has executed more than 490 inmates since 1976 and is nearing its 500th execution of a prisoner. Depending on appeals, that could come May 7 with the scheduled execution of Carroll Parr, convicted of killing a man in a robbery outside a convenience store in McLennan County in 2003.

    "We have executed in Texas almost 500 people," said Burnam, describing the upcoming threshold as "one of shame."

    Clarence Brandley, a former Death Row inmate who was wrongly convicted in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old student in Conroe, also participated in the event.

    In addition to seeking a ban on capital punishment, Texas death penalty opponents are seeking to change Texas' "law of parties" doctrine under which people can be sentenced to death for assisting in a capital crime even though they didn't commit the murder.

    - - - - -

    Dave Montgomery is the Star-Telegram's Austin bureau chief.

    Twitter: @daveymontgomery

    Read more...
  • Documentary Daddy’s Glass House by S. Thornhill and D. Jones.

    We are pleased to introduce the documentary Daddy’s Glass House, by Samantha Thornhill and Derek Jones.

    The starting point is the story of former death row inmate Kenneth Foster Jr., and the current ardent efforts worldwide to free him from a Texas prison.

    To further contextualize Kenneth’s plight, the documentary will be widening the lens to inform the public on the problematic, largely ignored, Texas Law of Parties. (The Texas LoP can sentence to death men or women who actually killed no one and –in many cases- were more than lightly or not at all involved in crime.)

    To intimately capture Kenneth’s personal narrative would expose audiences to a tapestry of concerns, another being the death penalty’s hidden victims–children.

    Though to focus on the Law of Parties (LoP) inevitably draws viewers into the larger discussion of capital punishment, the film’s legal attention will be on the LoP as an aspect of the death penalty that is worthy of national concern. More specifically, it needs to be addressed in the state legislature. To focus on this law makes this film one of high social importance, as most people outside (and inside) of Texas are not aware that such a law is constantly being carried out. There are an estimated 100 men and women in Texas prisons sentenced under the Law of Parties, who are factually innocent of murder.

    Alongside the case of Kenneth Foster, DGH will also highlight two other LOP cases. Also fathers on death row for crimes they should have anticipated, Rudy Medrano and Jeff Wood are currently at Polunsky Unit fighting for their lives.

    By exposing precise cases and dysfunctions of the Texas judicial system, this film will also offer a new and potent tool for communicating around LOP and more widely the Death penalty.

    This project was initiated by the New-York poet, teacher, world traveler and children’s author: Samantha Thornhill. The film title is in fact inspired by a poem of hers that moved Kenneth to write her a letter, sparking a pen friendship between two unlikely poets.

    With eight years and hundreds of letters between them, Thornhill and Foster together are building a campaign to free him and prevent others like him from ever seeing the inside of a prison cell.

    The 1st steps: During the summer 2012, the Daddy’s Glass House film team travelled the world to meet Kenneth Foster’s supporters and to shoot the 1st sequences of this challenging project (from NY to Texas … from England to Netherlands, passing by Italy and France).

    We are now pleased to inform you that the 1st teaser from the documentary “Daddy's Glass House" is now available at : http://vimeo.com/57348862

    You can learn more at: www.fosterkenneth.org

    For any question or comments: fosteringkenneth@gmail.com

    Presently, the continuation of this film rests on public support. Each donation goes directly into the next film shoot. If this is a project that you would like to see bloom, then here is your chance to support. And guess what? It is possible to give tax-deductible contributions to this project.

    Any donation will be tax deductible:

    This endeavor is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a national organization that supports artists nationwide in every discipline. With fiscal sponsorship, DGH producers can accept tax-deductible contributions just like a 501(c)(3). Artfully invest in freedom by making your tax free contribution today!

    If you want to contribute:

    https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/7784

    Thanks for your support and for widely spreading the word!!

    Emilie Artaud

    SOUTENEZ KENNETH FOSTER - SUPPORT KENNETH FOSTER

    Website: www.freekenneth.com - Email: kennethfoster@hotmail.fr -

    Myspace:www.myspace.com/kf999232 - Facebook: “Save Kenneth Foster group”

    Read more...
  • Can you spend $10 to save a life?

    January 10, 2013

    Dear all,

    As a new year begins, I wanted to share an update on my case and the current state of affairs regarding the DNA testing.

    As you probably know, after winning an important victory with the US Supreme Court last year, we filed a new motion for DNA testing in September 2011. The motion was denied by the sentencing judge and the Court of Criminal Appeals held oral arguments on this issue in May 2012. From the reactions and questions from the judges, the argument was on our side and before the court ruled on my case, the state of TX withdrew its opposition to the DNA testing. Subsequently, a joint agreement was signed both by the Attorney General’s office and my attorneys to test 40 pieces of evidence.

    From what has been tested so far, we have developed the partial DNA profile of a third party from the handle of a knife the state alleges is a murder weapon and from a bloodstain off the back bedroom floor carpet, which is Scooter and Randy’s blood mixed with an unknown third party’s DNA. Because it’s a partial profile, we are currently getting additional testing to amplify this profile to run it through the national DNA database.

    So far the state has spent in excess of $100,000, hoping to prove me guilty but this has not worked out for them at all because I’m innocent!

    The good news is my blood is not on any of the victims, someone else’s is. The furniture and interior doorframes and other items I bled on and/or left my bloody handprint or fingerprints on, contain only my blood. Most importantly, the back doors, two sets of doorknobs contain only my bloody handprints. It is known these were the last things I touched, staggering out of that house. The victims’ blood is not on my hands.

    Unbelievably, the state is trying to say that the fact I was there and bled in the bedroom means I am guilty. Unfortunately for the state, that is an untenable and losing position. In Texas, mere presence does not prove guilt under the controlling case law precedents applicable to such situations.

    The trace evidence report on analysis of the hairs “clutched” in Twila’s hands shows several hairs that are dissimilar to the standard taken from the victims or from me. So in addition to the tests now being conducted, we need to have mitochondrial testing done on those hairs and possibly on the samples that, in the initial round of DNA testing, produced the partial DNA profiles of third parties at the scene. Such mitochondrial testing could help us prove the identity of the source of that DNA. The state has lost interest in further DNA testing and has vowed not to pay for any additional DNA tests.

    Within a short time span, we need to raise $17,000 to complete this mitochondrial testing and cover expenses.We have six to eight weeks ahead of us to do so and I really need your help and assistance to raise these funds. This is my last chance to prove my innocence and be released from this nightmare.

    For this New Year, I wish you and your loved ones the very best. I thank you for all you have done for me and most importantly for your continued support to establish the truth and prove my innocence.

    Kind regards,

    Hank Skinner

    Please show Hank your support! Thank you!

    Read more...
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DRIVE'S BLOG

Listen to Petra de Jong and Gloria Rubac interview on KPFT News about the inhuman living conditions on Texas DR that motivated Jamie McCoskey to give up his last appeals in order to be executed.

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