Saturday, May 10, 2008

Summit on Wrongful Convictions

Six of us with the Abolition Movement went to Austin today for the Summit on Wrongful Convictions sponsored by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis.

Today was an amazing day -- meeting 9 exonerees, meeting the Dallas DA that has the courage to do the right thing, speaking with legislators who agree with us that DA's that commit misconduct should go to jail. We met with Jeff Blackburn, attorney and founder of the Innocence Project of Texas who is working with the Dallas DA and has agreed to work with us to get help for Howard Guidry, an innocent man on death row.

Regina Guidry did an interview with German TV, in German, I assume, about Howard.

The few people not enjoying the day were Roe Wilson, Harris County DA who handles post conviction capital murder appeals. Also Rissie Owens, chair of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Sen John Whitmire made Roe Wilson look like she needed Pepto Bismol, according to Ester King. And Lee Greenwood took both of Rissie Owens hands in hers and spoke to her about her allowing the murder of her son, Joseph Nichols, a man who had killed no one. I hope that keeps Ms. Owens awake tonight and every other night. Looking into the eyes of a mother in pain whose child you have murdered couldn't be easy if you have any sense of humanity. And we don't know if she does or not.

We got a commitment from State Rep. Terri Hodge to attend the 9th Annual March to Stop Executions in Houston on October 25.

Barbara Acuna and I had a long talk with Alejandro Hernandez an exoneree from El Paso who spent 13 years locked up for a crime he did not commit. He was sincerely interested in Barbara's son, Robert, who was the last juvenile sent to death row in the country. He also got to know Cesar Fierro while in the El Paso County jail in 1994. Cesar was there on a bench warrant for a eharing that should have resulted in him being freed from death row, but didn't.

The lunch was delicious and we thank Sharon for getting us name badges which allowed us and Randi with the CEDP in to the opening lunch and introduction session.

I think we made good contacts and allies for furthering our work for abolition and building the movement that is needed to stop the executions for good!


Click here to read "Wrongly convicted gather at Texas Capitol to share stories" in the Star-Telegram

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