Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MONTANA - Journey of Hope

Please mark the following dates in your calender! Don't miss these events!!!

Thursday October 2nd


7:00pm: Carroll College— O’Connell Hall, Room 107

Friday, October 3rd


7:00pm: Center for Arts & Culture (119 South Main Street)

5:30pm: Carnegie Public Library, meeting room (314 McLeod Street)

Saturday, October 4th


8:00pm: St. Patrick Parish (Highway 287)

4:30pm: Bozeman Public Library (626 East Main Street)
Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty

BOZEMAN Flagship Event
7:00pm: Montana State University, Ballroom A

Sunday, October 5th


10:00am: St. Mary’s Center (600 St. Mary's Avenue)

Noon: St. Matthew’s Catholic Parish (601 1st Avenue West)

2:00pm: Anaconda Catholic Community Parish Center

8:30pm: UM-Western, Lewis & Clark Room (710 S. Atlantic Street)

BUTTE Flagship Event
6:00pm: Immaculate Conception Parish (Caledonia St and N Western Ave)

Monday, October 6th

6:00pm: Mission Valley United Methodist (70715 U.S. Highway 93)

7:00pm: St. William Parish (416 Preston Avenue)

7:00pm: First Lutheran Church (604 South 5th Street)

7:00pm: Our Lady of Mercy (500 Dewey Avenue)

KALISPELL Flagship Event
7:00pm: Museum at Central School (134 2nd Avenue East)

Tuesday October 7th

Noon: United Methodist Church (205 1st Street)

1:00pm: 1st Presbyterian Church (1220 W. Main Street)
6:00pm: St. Paul's Episcopal (600 S. 3rd Street)

Tuesday October 7th


11:30am: U of M Center for Ethics (1000 E. Beckwith Avenue)
Noon: Jeanette Rankin Peace Center (519 S Higgins Avenue)
Special Topic: The Peace Movement and the Death Penalty

MISSOULA Flagship Event
7:30PM: University of Montana - University Center Ballroom

Wednesday, October 8th


6:30pm: Sacred Heart Mission (747 Hi Francis Rd)

5:30pm: Our Savior Lutheran Church (10 East Madison Avenue)

7:00pm: Saint Jude Parish Center (440 7th Avenue North)

Noon: Great Falls Public Library (301 2nd Avenue North)
Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty

GREAT FALLS Flagship Event
7:00PM: Holy Spirit Parish - 201 44th Street South

Thursday, October 9th

12:30pm: Risen Christ Church Parish Center (65 W. Evergreen Dr.)

6:00pm: Senior Citizen’s Center (101 1st Avenue)

7:00pm: St. Mary’s Catholic Community (1700 Missoula Ave)

7:00pm: United Methodist Church (201 West Centennial)

Friday, October 10th

1:30pm: Sts. Cyril and Methodius (120 W Riggs St)

Noon: Lewis & Clark Public Library (120 Last Chance Gulch)
Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty
World Day Against the Death Penalty

7:00PM: HELENA Flagship Event
Helena Middle School Auditorium (1025 N. Rodney St)

Saturday, October 11th

6:00pm: Miles Community College, Room 106 (2715 Dickenson St)

Sunday, October 12th


10:30am: Holy Rosary Parish (521 Custer Ave)

Monday, September 29, 2008


We have learned that there will not be a decision from the US Supreme Court until Wednesday at the earliest. Since the warrant for Troy Davis' execution expires on Tuesday at noon, he is SAFE ONLY for the time being.

If the US Supreme Court comes back with a bad decision on Wednesday, Georgia will have to seek a new execution warrant for him which must be given at least ten days in advance of the execution date... (adjusted from original Georgia notice)

Please check back and with Georgia/NCADP/Amnesty and others for UPDATES/ACTIONS

Vigil every night this week at 7pm at the Georgia State Capitol, Washington Street steps for this case.


Price isn't right for the death penalty

By Jack Payden-Travers; taken from sgvtribune.com

AS the country's economic woes continue to mount, frightening many Americans, it has become clear that the United States simply cannot afford capital punishment.

The death penalty is the revenue-guzzling SUV to the cost-efficient hybrid of life without parole. Researchers all over the country are crunching the numbers and coming to the same conclusion - the death penalty is far too expensive.

In its recently released report, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice found that California's current death penalty system costs $137 million annually compared with $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty. The commission also reported that California's system is "dysfunctional" and that it will cost an additional $200 million a year to fix it.

In January 2008, New Jersey became the first state to abolish the death penalty in 40 years.

The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission's report included the costs of a capital punishment system as one of the seven issues it studied. It noted that costs associated with death penalty cases are significantly higher than those associated with life without parole cases.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections estimated an average savings to the state of over $1 million over each inmate's lifetime. In addition the Commission noted "the devastating emotional costs of the death penalty ... the adverse effects of executions on third parties: judges, jurors, judicial staff, correctional staff, journalists, clergy and spiritual advisors, as well as the families of the victim and the families of the condemned inmate ... these intangible emotional and psychological costs must also be taken into consideration in weighing the costs of the death penalty."
In Maryland, the Urban Institute study of March 2008 noted that it costs the state three times more to try a death penalty case than a non-death penalty case. The report stated that "an average capital-eligible case resulting in a death sentence will cost approximately $3 million, $1.9 million more than a case where the death penalty was not sought."

A 2004 study in Tennessee said the findings were the same. Capital trials cost almost 50 percent more than trials where life without parole is sought. Similar findings have been made in Washington, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Kansas and Texas.

The death penalty is a failed government program for many reasons. One is that it is a colossal waste of government resources. Since 1977 we've carried out over 1,100 executions in this country to the tune of what is conservatively estimated over $1 billion. We would have been far wiser using this money to meet our many pressing needs, such as improving our schools, building safer communities, fixing our deteriorating infrastructures, shoring up our social security system, providing health insurance for children, etc.

That money has only purchased a system that doesn't work. In the last 3 decades, 129 individuals have been released from death row because they were innocent. That's one exoneration for every 9 executions. Would you buy a car that failed to start one time out of 10?

Whether one believes in the death penalty or not, we have to face the true costs of this policy. Nearly 3,300 men and women sit on death row right now.

Even if the United States were to return to the heyday of the death penalty, 1998 with 98 executions, it would take more than 30 years to kill all of these individuals. What will the cost of execution have risen to by then?

The reality is that most individuals remain on death row for at least 10 years before all state and federal appeals are completed. Based on the 129 exonerations so far we know it takes on average nine years and three appeals to reverse a wrongful conviction.

Many prisoners will die of natural causes before they can be executed. It would be far cheaper to commute these sentences to life without parole than to continue this failed policy of state killing. Indeed juries which now have the option of life in prison without parole in 35 of the 36 death penalty states are increasingly refusing to sentence people to death.

The death penalty is a bankrupting policy. Let's abolish it.

Jack Payden-Travers is the public education associate with the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Coerced Confession? Victim's Mother Wants to Find Out...


Lois Hall says the wrong man is in prison

Hall recently traveled from her Buffalo home to the Hudson Valley with two wishes: To meet the man convicted in her daughter’s murder and to get answers from Manhattan prosecutors. Manhattan prosecutors have told Lebrew Jones’ lawyers that 21-year-old nail scrapings from murder victim Michaelanne Hall have been found for DNA testing. (photo by John Pertel)

By Christine Young
Times Herald-Record
September 21, 2008 6:00 AM

Special Report

Lois Hall, whose daughter Michaelanne Hall was savagely murdered near Times Square in November 1987, has long suspected police got the wrong man. She felt uneasy that Lebrew Jones — a security guard with an IQ of 68 who had no criminal record — was convicted in her daughter's death.

Twenty years later, having learned more about the investigation and having recently met Jones in Otisville state prison, Hall is convinced that he is innocent and is troubled that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office has dodged her requests to discuss it.

"Everybody's got to think about whether or not they could have their daughter slaughtered, like my daughter was, and not have a real good answer about who did this," said Hall, who lives in Buffalo.

Jones was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for bludgeoning and defiling Michaelanne, a 21-year-old prostitute, at a West 41st Street construction site where he was a security guard. Despite a mountain of physical evidence, nothing connected Jones to the crime, a Times Herald-Record investigation revealed in January. His fate turned on a videotaped statement he made after 20 hours of interrogation without a lawyer.

Jones, now 51 and serving 22 years to life, has always maintained his innocence and is now represented by the Innocence Project and Davis, Polk & Wardwell, a Manhattan law firm.

Hall said she was "thrilled" to hear that Morgenthau's office had reopened the case in February 2007, after the Record raised questions about Jones' guilt.

"When they took that man to jail, I said, 'He didn't do it,'" Hall recalled. "I want some answers on why this man is in jail, with some proof."

The district attorney's office would not comment on the status of its review. But on Wednesday, one of Jones' lawyers said Michaelanne's fingernail scrapings had been found and are available for DNA testing. This would be the first time physical evidence would be tested for DNA.

"Mr. Jones is eager for that testing to be performed, and he will be submitting samples of his own DNA in the testing process," said lawyer Jonathan Martin. "We will be working closely with the Innocence Project to make sure the DNA testing is properly conducted and considered by the DA's office."

A visit with two wishes

Last month, Hall arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport with only two wishes: to meet her daughter's accused killer and get answers from the district attorney.

One of them came true.

Three days after Hall's arrival, a supervisor escorted her to a private room at the prison, where she would meet Jones for the first time.

"I've been wanting to do this for years," she said while waiting for Jones, "but I didn't know how."

Jones entered the room. Hall and Jones burst into tears and embraced.

"You've been behind bars, too," Jones said, taking a handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his eyes. "I didn't do it. If I was there, I would have stopped it."

They sat down and held hands across the table.

Hall told Jones how she was once wrongfully accused of making a snide remark about a friend.

"She never believed me," Hall said. "I know how hard it is to try to explain it, to get people to believe you."

Jones recalled how one of the detectives, Paul Clermont, said he believed Jones was innocent while booking him at the Manhattan Detention Center.

"He said he would talk to the DA for me, but he never came back," Jones said, shaking his head in bewilderment. "Clermont — he pulled a fast one on me."

Clermont, now living in Mason, Ohio, has washed his hands of the case.

"I'm retired," he said during a brief phone interview last year. "Talk to someone else, because I'm out of it."

Hall wept as she described how Michaelanne was abducted at age 15 by a pimp known as "Cain," who took her to Manhattan and put her on the street, where she was arrested several times.

"Why didn't the police put her on a bus and send her home?" Hall wonders. "If the police had done their job, I'd still have my kid."

Michaelanne turned tricks for six years, occasionally visiting her mother in Buffalo. Once, she had a black eye. She often had bruises.

In October 1987, Michaelanne packed up her belongings and went home, telling Lois she was leaving Cain for good. But she returned to the city and moved into a Times Square hotel. Two weeks later, Michaelanne was dead.

Seeking answers, getting none

Before coming to New York, Hall wrote to Morgenthau's office, requesting a meeting about her daughter's death. She got no response.

"What do they care about little old me?" she shrugged. "I have no power. To them, I'm just a nobody up in Buffalo."

Last year, Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford showed up at Hall's home, unannounced. Ford handed Hall a transcript of Jones' videotaped statement, an incoherent, nonsensical tale of a young woman killing herself with a rock.

Ford didn't tell Hall that Jones had immediately recanted, saying police fed him details of the crime and showed him photos of the scene.

Ford waited while she read the transcript, Hall said, and then asked if it had changed her mind about Jones' innocence.

"I think she was just there to convince me this guy is guilty," Hall said. "And she really didn't succeed at that. A statement that was probably coerced? I can't look at that and say that's enough."

In 1989, however, it was enough for a jury in New York City, where racial tensions were exploding and random violence was a fact of life. It took them only a half day to find Jones guilty.

A different recollection

Earlier this year, the Record found a witness in Paint Lick, Ky., who might help exonerate Jones.

John Lancaster, who in 1987 worked as a Salvation Army canteen driver in Manhattan, said he and a co-worker, Maj. Betty Baker, spoke with Michaelanne several hours after Jones was alleged to have killed her. Baker, a defense witness, said the same thing at trial.

Lancaster, who left New York immediately after the murder, was never interviewed by investigators or Jones' lawyer, Robert Beecher. But court papers show prosecutor Brian O'Donoghue called Lancaster just hours before Jones was sentenced.

"He said he's still got doubts; he was trying to close the case in his own mind," Lancaster said.

At Jones' sentencing, O'Donoghue told the judge Lancaster didn't remember that night. Lancaster disagrees, saying he told the prosecutor he and Baker spoke to Michaelanne, who was terrified of her pimp.

"She was scared that night, scared to death," Lancaster said. "She said, 'He's gonna kill me.'"

O'Donoghue, who retired from the district attorney's office, has a private practice in Huntington.

"I don't recall that," he said in a phone interview earlier this year.

Unless he is exonerated, Jones' first parole hearing will be next year.

"Be strong; my heart is with you," Jones told Hall as they wrapped up the visit.

He paused and looked into Hall's eyes.

"I didn't do it," he said again, choking up. "I'm doing somebody else's time right now. Who? Only God knows that."


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Introducing the Journey of Hope - Family:

It's no surprise that Bess Klassen-Landis, a politically liberal thinker who was raised in a pacifist, Mennonite tradition, would be opposed to the death penalty. The twist is that the 52-year-old Windsor woman came to feel this way decades after her mother was stolen from her, raped and murdered in her Indiana home while Klassen-Landis, then 13, and her three sisters were at school.

After growing up fearful -- her mother's killer was never caught -- and suffering years of post-traumatic stress symptoms, Klassen-Landis says she has been transformed by talking and singing about her life, including with a national group that travels the country speaking out against the death penalty.

Helen Bohn Klassen, who was 41, was beaten, raped, strangled and shot five times in her Indiana home in 1969. One of Bess's sisters found her after school. Helen Klassen's girls never talked to a therapist, says Bess; it wasn't what families did back then.

After her mother's murder, young Bess Klassen lived in a household of pent-up grief. In an interview in her art-filled Windsor home and in her Rotary Club speech, Klassen-Landis recalled that her father told his daughters that their shattered family must put on a good face for their community. It was something Otto Klassen, now proud of three of his daughters' work against capital punishment, would later deeply regret.

At the time, the anguished widower, a psychiatrist, felt the authorities weren't doing their job. After work, he would go to the police station, follow potential suspects -- police had identified seven -- and, at home, sleep very little. His daughters were always on edge, Bess said. Their father "looked like he could explode at any second."

A high school honor student, Bess played sports and sang in a folk band. Yet she walked with her head bowed and stuck her nose in a book to avoid having to speak to anyone. Inside, she simmered with "utter despair, grief, fear, or rage," she said. "I needed to pretend for others that I wasn't being torn apart inside, that I wasn't afraid to live in a home with bullet holes in the floor."

"There was a real sense of discrepancy between what you were showing on the outside to your teachers, your aunt and uncles, to anybody, to your family, and what you're feeling on the inside," she said.

Klassen-Landis grew up, got married and had two children, now grown, all the while coping with what she says was "the physical and psychic stress of being hyper-vigilant for many years." She suffered an overactive immune system and environmental and food allergies. Then her oldest sister Ruth, who had had her own difficulties as a result of their mother's murder, asked Bess to accompany her on a speaking tour with a group called "Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing." [...]

Bess agreed to accompany Ruth, despite her fear of public speaking and the spotlight. She did it for her sister, Bess said. Her first trip with Journey of Hope, to Texas, was in 2005. For the first time, Klassen-Landis told her story to an audience full of people who, like her, had had a loved-one murdered.

"I just can't tell you what an open door that is, to free parts of yourself that have not been free. It's probably the most taboo subject you can think of. It's not something I've talked about a lot in my life. You don't bring up the fact that your mother's been murdered because it'll stop any conversation," said Klassen-Landis. "So being in that room, all of a sudden there is a place you can talk about it."

If her first Journey tour was about taking care of herself, Klassen-Landis's second trip, last year to Virginia, was about opening her heart to others, to people who had done terrible things. Klassen-Landis said she had always been "theoretically" opposed to capital punishment, but there was a part of her that "smugly" felt that murderers, "well, they deserved" to die.

Then Klassen-Landis had her next epiphany. She began to feel that if her mother's murderer had been apprehended, she would be able to sit with him, talk with him and "visit (him) over and over again until I could find that within him that I could call friend."

"I surely couldn't have said that," before 2006, she said.

It was a transformation Klassen-Landis said she also saw in her traveling companion, a man who had spent a decade on death row before being cleared in a murder he did not commit. The man believed in the death penalty and thought the murderers he knew in prison should die for their crimes. While in prison, he had become best friends with a murderer, who was executed.

"It just tore him apart. He realized that this man had good in him. That this man had the capacity to relate to others in a loving way," Klassen-Landis said. "My need to help abolish the death penalty right now is not only to save these peoples' lives - it's to help people become less hateful, to actually find forgiveness within themselves." (taken from "For Victims, Against the Death Penalty - The web log of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights)

Bess is our newest Journey of Hope board member.

Friday, September 26, 2008

SC STAY OF EXECUTION ! Updates //New Scheduled Executions

Sept. 30 SOUTH CAROLINA----stay of impending execution

Stay Of Execution Issued For Man Convicted Of Killing Greenville Clerk

A South Carolina man set to die this week for killing a store clerk has
been granted a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts signed the stay Tuesday, giving Freddie E.
Owens' attorney time to prepare an appeal of the case to the nation's high

The 30-year-old Owens had been scheduled to die Friday in South Carolinas
death chamber in Columbia.

The stay grants Owens time to prepare an appeal. It does not say anything
about the merits of Owens' case or even if the court will agree to hear

Owens has been sentenced to death 3 separate times...His 1st 2 sentences were overturned.

(source: Associated Press) SEE more at Death Penalty News Rick Halperin & Updates link Lower Right at this site

For Information on SC events please contact: anna(at)charlestonpeace.net, 843-312-9741
UPDATE: Reminder to call your broadcasters to see if questions on the death penalty can be asked of the vice-presidential candidates before the debate: Thursday

Last week...
Time for your Dear Jim Lehrer letters & calls...ask death penalty questions for BOTH Candidates...a time to bring up costs as well...for tonight's 9 pm ET debate--be sure to bring up Troy's case among so many other issues. You can get the debates also on National Public Radio and call in your questions there as well...Please do it with your name & state as well as in our name, We the People...

Call Governor and Board of Pardon & Paroles to object to the state killing of
Dennis Skillicorn in Mo. Execution scheduled September 27.

Please also call the Governor and Board of Pardon & Paroles in SC to object to the killing by the state on Oct 3 of Freddie Owens ACT NOW! Watch here for the notice of events.

Here are so many more....please do similarly for each of these...there are some petitions available with an easy search here on this site for Gregory Wright, Tx and for others here or check links or search engine...

Oct 7: Briley Piper, SD - ACT NOW!
Oct 14: Richard Cooey, OH - ACT NOW!
Oct 16: Kevin Watts, TX - ACT NOW!
Oct 21: Joseph Ries, TX - ACT NOW!
Oct 28: Eric Nenno, TX - ACT NOW!
Oct 30: Gregory Wright, TX - ACT NOW!

NEW VOICES: Former U.S. Attorney Cites Improper Pressure in Use of Federal Death Posted: September 26, 2008 Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton expressed relief that the Justice Department is no longer seeking to execute a defendant in the case that was cause for his termination. Charlton told the Associated Press that he did not think the government had sufficient evidence to pursue the death penalty in the prosecution of Jose Rios Rico. Charlton's boss, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, wanted him to pursue it anyway and testified to a Senate panel that he fired Charlton over his “poor judgment” in the case.

NEW RESOURCES: The Espy File on Executions to Become Part of National Archive
Posted: September 25, 2008 The files on executions in America compiled by noted historian M Watt Espy, Jr are to become part of the National Death Penalty Archive located at the State University of New York at Albany. The Espy collection, entitled “Executions in America,” documents more than 15,000 executions in the United states dating back to 1608 and colonial Jamestown. Among the unique materials are handwritten ledgers with an alphabetical listing of executed individuals by state and by date from the 1600’s through 1995 and over 1,000 books.

Look forward to an article next timed just for the FIRST DEBATE on the Candidates & the Death Penalty and keeping our abolition bi-partisan "cool" by our own JOH Ron Keine...coming on this site very soon!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hold Jessie Cummings (and all affected) in Oklahoma In the Light Tonight

Sept 25* Jessie Cummings Execution Scheduled OKLAHOMA (check later at
Death Penalty News & Updates, Rick Halperin's site --Link on this site)

Sept 29* Troy Davis This is the new date set until/unless court finds Davis
innocent or new date is set. GEORGIA

October 3 Freddie Owens (more info coming) SOUTH CAROLINA

OKLAHOMA, SC and Troy Anthony Davis

OKLAHOMA: Please KEEP GOING to Death Penalty News & Updates Rick Halperin's site, NCADP and others for information & suggestions for Actions(see links lower right) Please call the Governor's office if nothing else ASAP.

GEORGIA: Also, please ACT as often as possible to keep letters going to the Georgia Parole Board to help prevent Troy Anthony Davis from facing another execution date which despite the recent stay might occur VERY SOON.

SOUTH CAROLINA: We will also be posting an item soon on the upcoming SC scheduled execution. But please don't delay in Acting Now!

Thanks for tuning in!

Why Montana? (for the upcoming Journey)/Ron on the Candidates and DP

The Journey of hope this year will be in Montana courtesy of our hosts the Montana abolition coalition.

We have the distinct opportunity to help them become the next state to ban the government killing of its citizens.

We will be there in October. The elections will be in November. The legislative sessions are held for 90 days every 2 years and only in odd numbered years . Sessions begin in January of 2009 when we will know if we win or not. This is our only shot for two years. Of course this all will depend on just who gets elected in November. I have a very good feeling about this. I really think we will win this one.

There will be a bill draft for the abolition of the death penalty, but the bill number will not be assigned until the session starts.

There are currently 2 men on death row and the state has murdered 3 since 1943.

Montana failed by only one vote last time. I hope that though our diligent work and dedication that we will be able to be a major force in turning the tide of public opinion. This opinion of course will elect the legislators in November. Hopefully we can educate the populace on the death penalty and persuade them to vote only for Anti-Death penalty candidates. Remember what Justice Thurgood Marshall said. Most people in the U.S today do not have the information that is crucial to making a decision on the death penalty. If they ever did, they would not support it.

This is our job, it is what we do. We educate people through our speeches and presentations. Many of whom have never had their lives touched by the death penalty and thus know nothing about it. If we do our jobs right we will win them over.

Montana is a beautiful state. Marietta and I were there on a speaking tour earlier this year. People, complete strangers actually nodded their heads and said "Hi " while passing on the street. The Montana coalition has planned some much needed, fun side trips for us for some periodic R & R.

We will be there from Oct 2 through Oct. 11th. That gives us only 10 days to win the entire state. I can hardly wait.

Lemme at em.
Ron Keine

"I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men, when we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.” ----- Clarence Darrow
We hope to have more from and on Ron! I really enjoyed getting to know him during the Texas Journey and am continually challenged and surprised by what he has to offer. I heard that he made powerful and compelling presentations with Marietta in Montana recently. I know he will find a way to meet people on their own turf and turn them into listeners and friends.
RON on CANDIDATES and the Death Penalty:

There many issues voters need to consider in this presidential campaign. However as this is an anti-death penalty site, I would like to discuss that issue only.

Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin are all in favor of the death penalty. There had been much discussion about which one may be most in favor of executing our citizens and
which one may be least in favor. Unless someone possesses the powers of a claravoiant, we do not know as there is no factual evidence of any candidate declaring just how zealous they may or may not be on executing human beings.

Make no mistakes. All four of them are Pro-capital punishment. Since the next president is likely to appoint Supreme Court justices, it is crucial that we understand the issue.

Obama is the only one which I feel will appoint anti-death penalty judges. None of the others will do that. For this reason I will be voting for him in November.

I have had many people ask me "How can the Democrats and the Republicans both be for the death penalty?

Some people still believe in the myth that Republicans are pro-death penalty and Democrats are anti-death penalty. There are many liberal Republicans and many conservative Democrats. In Michigan, where I live, There is no death penalty. Until recently Republicans have been the majority and thus ran the state. In 1973 we had a constitutional convention and only one single solitary legislator voted yes on the question of should we have the death penalty.

As long as we draw this line in the sand, we make it a partisan issue. If we make it a partisan issue, we alienate the other side. We will never win our cause without winning these people over to our side. We need them. This is why we go out and speak for hours and hours, Travel all over the world, Spend all our disposable cash and time. We do this to win the Pro death penalty people over to our side. I don't care if they are black, white, yellow, red, green or purple. I don't care if they believe in Christ, Allah, Odin, Zeus, many gods or no god at all. I don't care if they are Democrat, Republican or one of the many other obscure parties. I don't want to alienate them, I am not going to talk bad about them. I want them on our side.

When we meet a pro-death penalty person let's greet him openly. Talk to him like a friend , give him a hug. convince him to listen to us and hopefully we can educate him on the Death penalty. If we insult him, chant goofy slogans and talk bad about his Party leaders or his beliefs , He won't be open to listen to us. We not only lost him but sent him running to the other side.

Also. Let us not get caught up in all the negative campaigning that both sides are engaged in. The majority of it is just a bunch of opinions or lies. many times making a big issue out of something that means nothing. I don't want a candidate to tell me what is bad about his opponent. I want him to tell me about what he will do to better this country.

According to my local police department (I just called them) There are many actual fist fights over candidates issues. People actually beat each other up over political
discussions. The number of arrests grow as the election nears.

Let us not get caught up in violence or spread ill feelings over this election. Our time would be more efficient if we concentrated on (politely. with smiles and discourse) win people over to our side and get them to vote for our candidate.

Ron Keine

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Journey Musings

Soon we will more and more be turning to Montana to show you THE JOURNEY OF HOPE in Action. Please come back often for Journey Updates on this exciting new Montana Journey!

Meantime, just a few musings are in order after the dramatic highs and lows of yesterday in two death chambers, USA...Georgia and Florida...

Susanne, co-blogger, placed an astute comment under the tragic pieces posted from reports about Dorothy Harris who was Henyard's victim in so many ways, both because she was raped and nearly killed and as the mother of the two children he evidently murdered...

NOTE: Her's was a reply to "Anonymous" (before Florida's execution September 23, 2008):

Anonymous wrote in comments space: "Henyard's very existence is appalling. The girls are dead; he is not, and the state is about to rectify that injustice."

IN REPLY, Blogger Susanne said...

"Dear anonymous,

You might have noticed that we do publish all (comments)... no matter if they are Pro or against the DP as long as they are written without bad words...

I'm thinking of the girl's mom. She surely was a victim. She got raped and shot and HER children are dead. But from her we read...

"It won't bring back my girls,"..."Lewis remarked that if she demanded Henyard's execution, she'd be no better than the 18-year-old "

SHE surely does not want this execution. All she seems to want is to leave all of this behind her. But even of this possibility the state of Florida stripped her. If Henyard would have been sentenced to life in prison everything would have been over with years ago and she would not have had to live through lots of appeals and letters constantly reminding her.

So the state of Florida totally neglected the victim's wishes and by doing so victimized her for a second time.

I think she is a really remarkable woman. After all she's been through--picking up life again and preaching love. And my sorrow really goes out to her, not only because of what Henyard has done to her but also because of what the state of Florida has been doing to her for 15 years!"
Please scroll below and the the right for the archives for more items like this and different and also don't forget to check out the good sites listed under links! Especially at this time--when there is a regular "killing field" going on across America with so many states refusing to question the reason, general fairness and assumed value of the death penalty.

In such crucial times as these, let's put our funding, energies, skills and creativity into ending poverty, preventing crime, reducing guns, providing much more support for families and children, free and low-cost ongoing education for all ages--including parenting, cultural understanding, sociology, prisons, justice, mediation and relationship skills--not matter what and other programs which will elevate our society like executions never will.

And finally, let's listen to those who know what they are talking about just like the powerful speakers who've been on death row, experienced the murder of beloved family members, been through or are facing execution of dear family--and others who speak across the nation: The Family of The Journey of Hope.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears recently wrote, "I believe … it's time to examine whether Georgia's current method of enforcing the death penalty and its attending consequences are compatible with the dignity, morality, and decency of society's enlightened consciousness, and is reflective of a humane system of justice." (Doesn't this statement aptly stand for everyplace anywhere which still uses the death penalty no matter what?)

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears has achieved a distinguished position in Georgia's history. She was the first African-American woman to serve as Superior Court Judge in Georgia. When appointed by the Governor of Georgia in February, 1992, she was the first woman and the youngest person ever to serve on Georgia's Supreme Court. Also, in retaining her appointed position as a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Sears became the first woman to win a contested state-wide election in Georgia.

Justice Sears is a 1976 graduate of Cornell University (B.S. Degree); a 1980 graduate of Emory University School of Law (J.D. Degree); and a 1995 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law (LL.M Degree). She also has engaged in extensive studies at the National Judicial College. Prior to becoming a judge, she was an attorney with the law firm of Alston & Bird. In 1993, Justice Sears received the honorary Doctor of Law degree from Morehouse College.

She advocates for family programs.

Justice Sears' professional and civil affiliations are varied and numerous. The Justice is past Chair of the American Bar Association's Board of Elections. She is also the immediate past Chair of the Judicial Section of the Atlanta Bar Association, and she also served as Chair of the Atlanta Bar's Minority Clerkship Program. Justice Sears founded and served as the first president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. Chief Justice Sears serves on the Board of Directors of the Morehouse School of Medicine Center for Child Abuse & Neglect, the Board of Visitors of Mercer Law School, the Sadie G. Mays Nursing Home, the Georgia Chapter of the National Council of Christians and Jews, and she is a board member for Mission New Hope, a metropolitan Atlanta area substance abuse coalition. Justice Sears serves on the Cornell University Women's Council, the steering Committee for Georgia Women's History Month, and the Children's Defense Fund's Black Community Crusade for Children. In addition, Chief Justice Sears founded the Battered Women's Project in Columbus, Georgia.

Recap: September 23, 2008 Florida/Georgia


Richard Henyard was executed by lethal injection tonight as the state carried out the death penalty against the 34-year-old Lake County man for the 1993 killings of 7-year-old Jamilya Lewis and her 3-year-old sister, Jasmine. Henyard was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m.

Henyard was put to death at Florida State Prison after a delay of about 2 hours while authorities waited for a final U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a last-ditch appeal. The court denied requests for a stay.

Earlier in the day, Henyard was "somewhat quiet and withdrawn, but he is respectful," said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.

A civil-rights lawyer who was appointed to represent him today had filed a new appeal with a federal appellate court in Atlanta. Henyard had brought a civil-rights complaint this morning in federal court, alleging that the state's "execution team" lacks training and could cause him to suffer a painful death if they "fail to properly insert the IV's as they did in (Angel) Diaz." Diaz' botched execution in Dec. 2006 caused the state to temporarily halt executions.

Henyard wrote the complaint by hand, assisted by Mark S. Gruber, who has handled his death appeals for the state-funded Capital Collateral Regional Commission. It also alleged "The drugs that will be used by the Department of Corrections have been known to cause excruciating pain."

The state Supreme Court has ruled that challenging the death-penalty procedure is beyond the scope of the Capital Collateral Regional Commission, whose job is to handle trial-related appeals.

Henyard was sentenced to death for the 1993 murders of the Eustis sisters, who were carjacked along with their mother from a grocery store parking lot by Henyard and a juvenile accomplice, Alfonza Smalls. Henyard and Smalls took turns raping the girls' mother before shooting her 4 times. Prosecutors said Henyard then shot the girls as they cried out "Mommy." The girls' mother, Dorothy Lewis, survived, though she was shot between the eyes.

Smalls was too young to receive the death penalty. He is serving consecutive life terms for the crimes.

Plessinger said Dorothy Lewis' husband, Hugh Brockington, was among family members who were granted permission to witness the execution.

Henyard met late this afternoon with his spiritual advisor, Is-Hak Saddique, a muslim cleric. Henyard became a Muslim while in prison, Plessinger said.

Henyard becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Florida and the 66th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979.

Henyard becomes the 23rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1122nd overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

(sources: Orlando Sentinel & Rick Halperin)


Lawyer describes what would have been Davis' last hours

Troy Davis was scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection but the US Supreme Court granted him a week-long stay of execution. See Stay of execution granted for Troy Davis.

The Supreme Court will review Davis' request for an appeal on September 29 and we won't know until then whether or not an execution will take place.

But if Davis is executed, he will be the second Chatham County man put to death in recent weeks.

Jack Alderman was executed last Tuesday for the murder of his wife. Terry Jackson was his attorney. Jackson said that case didn't get near the attention Davis' case has received.

"No publicity, nobody cared it seemed. I'm glad somebody cares about Troy Davis because this is it," Jackson said. "If there are mistakes, if there's perjury as in the Alderman case, it's too late. Once you're executed they just sort of close the file."

The rallies and publicity have helped but is there anyone out there this late in the game that can stop the execution? "Certainly," said Jackson. "The US Supreme Court can stop it in a heartbeat."

And that's just what they did.

Jackson described what Davis was likely going through earlier today before the stay was granted by the Supreme Court.

"Friends and family come in but as of 4pm everybody is gone. They do have a priest or pastor, minister that will come in and talk to him if he wants to. He has the right to make a final statement if he wants to," Jackson explained.

But thanks to the last-minute stay of execution, Davis now has another chance.

(source: WTOC News)


Troy Davis Supporters Relieved By Stay, Hope for More

Troy Davis supporters gathered here in Savannah at the Chatham County Courthouse tonight.

It was one of several events across the state today organized by Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The mood changed as people began to arrive. That's because they were all receiving word that the U.S. Supreme Court granted Troy Davis a stay.

Supporters gathered and celebrated the news. "I waited all day long for a phone call to hear that,"explains Jean Zittrauer, a Troy Davis supporter who opposed the death penalty.

Jean Zittrauer expresses her relief that today is not Troy Davis's day to die.

Davis supporters…hugging, talking and smiling as their signs of support sit on the ground.

"I couldn't believe it, I shouted, I praised the Lord," exclaims Marilyn Jackson, organizer of the vigil and president of the Daughters of Mary Magdeline.

"I left the office at 4:30 and I had not heard anything except that the Supreme Court was reviewing the case and so when I approached you, I wasn't sure with the look on your face what the news was going to be, but I am certainly very grateful that there is a stay," says Sister Jackie Griffith of the Catholic Diocese.

The group of about 20 gathers to pray for Davis.<>P> The Lord gave me this not only gave us the vision to name this celebration Jubilee because the Lord knew that the Supreme Court was going to give him a stay of execution. He knew that and I am so exceedingly happy," Jackson says with a smile.

It's joy that spreads. The group sings.

And hope that remains.

"I'm hoping that the Supreme Court opens up this opportunity so that this case can be reviewed, there's witnesses who've recanted, there is a doubt, a reasonable doubt, I believe that Troy Davis is innocent and this is a life we're talking about," says Sister Jackie.

It's something Sister Jackie Griffith and other supporters say the courts need to take their time with.

"Don't go home and say everything is alright because it's not alright okay we've got a long, long fight, the Supreme Court only gave us until Monday," Jackson exclaims to the group.

All of the Troy Davis supporters I spoke with tonight are just hoping that officials will begin to look at a moratorium on the death penalty here in Georgia so that it's bigger than Troy Davis or Jack Alderman who was executed last week.

(source: WSAV News)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Georgia, USA: Less Than Two Hours to Live-- Then, Suddenly a STAY!

About 90 minutes before Troy Anthony Davis was scheduled to be executed, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution. Here, Kim Davis, center, sister of Troy Davis, is surrounded by supporters during an Amnesty International rally at in Atlanta on Sept. 11. Jenni Girtman / AP

"Because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will hear the appeal in the next week or so, Davis may not be spared for long," Sharpton said.

“One week may not seem like a long time, but when you have only two hours to live it’s a lifetime,” he added.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ajc.com > Metro

Updated: 7:21 p.m. September 23, 2008
Supreme Court issues stay of execution for Davis


Jackson — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

Davis’ family and supporters, who for years have pressed for a new trial on claims Davis is innocent, broke into tears and song when they learned the high court had at least temporarily postponed the execution.

“I’ve been praying for this moment forever,” said Davis’s sister and most outspoken proponent, Martina Correia. Davis’ mother, Virginia Davis, said God had answered their prayers.

Just a few hours earlier, the mother and sister had given Davis what they thought could be their final good-byes at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m.

Annelie Reaves, MacPhail’s sister, said the victim’s family was furious but would wait for the execution to be rescheduled.

“It should have happened today,” she said, “but justice will be served.”

At least two members of MacPhail’s family were to witness the execution, and they will return when the execution is rescheduled, Reaves said.

In response to Davis’ hope that the real killer will be found, the officer’s family and friends all laughed. “He knows who the killer is,” Reaves said of Davis.

It was the second time that Davis, whose claims of innocence have attracted international attention, was granted a stay hours before he was to be put to death. In July 2007, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles postponed his execution less than 24 hours before it was to occur.

This time, the stay came from the nation’s highest court.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s justices are scheduled to meet Monday to decide whether to hear Davis’ appeal of a ruling issued by the Georgia Supreme Court in March. In that 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected Davis’ bid for a new trial or a court hearing to present new evidence.

In its order, the U.S. Supreme Court said if the justices decline to hear Davis’ case, “this stay shall terminate automatically.” If the court agrees to hear the case, the stay will remain in force until the high court issues its ultimate ruling, the order said.

The high court did not say when it would announce its decision whether to hear or deny Davis’ appeal.

Davis disclosed the news of his stay in a phone call to his sister and civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton.

“I truly feel blessed and I know we still have work to do,” Davis said, according to Sharpton. “With God, all things are possible.”

According to Sharpton, Davis said he had already recorded his last statement, as is customary for death-row inmates before they are to be executed. Davis said he had also prayed for the family of MacPhail, a 27-year-old father of two who was gunned down at a Savannah Burger King parking lot.

Because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will hear the appeal in the next week or so, Davis may not be spared for long, Sharpton said.

“One week may not seem like a long time, but when you have only two hours to live it’s a lifetime,” he added.

Lester Davis, Troy Davis’ brother, said, “I’ve got to stay focused because it’s not over yet. Hopefully, this gives them enough time to understand the injustice of this case.”

Since his 1991 trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses who testified against Davis have recanted their testimony.

In March, a deeply divided state Supreme Court turned down Davis’ appeal, saying the recantations of seven witnesses who testified against him were not enough to win him a new trial or court hearing.

“We simply cannot disregard the jury’s verdict,” Justice Harold Melton wrote. The majority, he added, could not ignore the trial testimony, “and, in fact, we favor that original testimony over the new.”

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears issued a strong dissent.

“If recantation testimony, either alone or supported by other evidence, shows convincingly that prior trial testimony was false, it simply defies all logic and morality to hold that it must be disregarded categorically,” she wrote.

The new testimony, if found credible, could lead a new jury to find reasonable doubt of Davis’ guilt or enough residual doubt to impose a sentence other than death, she wrote.


Supreme Court issues stay of execution for Davis


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

Remind Georgia NOW what Georgia SC Chief Justice Said

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears recently wrote, "I believe … it's time to examine whether Georgia's current method of enforcing the death penalty and its attending consequences are compatible with the dignity, morality, and decency of society's enlightened consciousness, and is reflective of a humane system of justice."

WELL NOW'S THAT TIME! And before one more--Troy Davis--is gone.

Last Day for Troy: Please FAX /CALL Georgia

Georgia Parole Board Fax Numbers:
(404)-651-8502 (404)-651-6670 (404)-651-5282 (404)-463-6627

# to try by phone: 404 656-5712 Also see ONLINE Amnesty Action & Contacts below and FAX US Attorney General/White House if at all possible...Please do ALL you can.

Check Actions with LINKS on this site or elsewhere for Florida as well.

Thanks so much for tuning in! The JOH Bloggers...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lewis never has advocated that Henyard be executed.

Killer's execution would close chapter on mom's nightmare
Lauren Ritchie | COMMENTARY (Excerpt) Orlando Sentinel
September 21, 2008

Dorothy Lewis likely will be at her Umatilla home cooking dinner by 6 p.m. Tuesday when the man who killed her two babies is to draw his last breath.

Richard Henyard, 34, convicted of murdering Lewis' daughters and of raping and shooting the third-grade schoolteacher, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. It would be the first of a Lake County prisoner in 50 years.

Do we throw a party? Perhaps we should follow the lead of the victim. When Lewis learned two months ago that Gov. Charlie Crist had signed a death warrant, she cried.

Were they tears of joy that the criminal is finally being disposed of? Sorrow at the barbaric execution of a fellow human being? Or a simple emotional reaction to another wrenching upheaval in a life laced with trials? For sure, it wasn't the first option. Lewis never has advocated that Henyard be executed.

"It won't bring back my girls," she said recently.

A horribly random crime

About a year after the 1993 crimes, Lewis remarked that if she demanded Henyard's execution, she'd be no better than the 18-year-old who raped her on the trunk of her car while her girls watched and whimpered for their mommy...

Lewis and her daughters, 3-year-old Jasmine and 7-year-old Jamilya, were at a now-closed Winn-Dixie supermarket in Eustis buying ingredients to make a salad for a church potluck supper when they were kidnapped.

Innocent victims

It could just as easily have been me. It could have been you. Anyone who shopped for groceries and looked vulnerable was a target...

State Attorney Brad King remarked to a reporter that the innocence of the victims played a key role in the death sentence. It's hard to imagine more blameless victims than little girls with neatly braided hair and polite manners and their mother, who at 35 had begun to preach the word of the Lord at her church.

The girls had lost their daddy in 1989 to spinal meningitis, but Lewis' mother and sisters and aunts stepped forward and wrapped them in a cocoon of caring that protected them and reminded them that they were loved and would make it through tough times.

But the power of intense love cannot stop death when it is determined to visit.

Killer had no one to care

Henyard is not wanted in this world. He never was, from the moment of his birth. His young, unmarried mother was too busy drinking and doing drugs to take care of a squalling pimply infant who developed sores all over his body from a severe milk allergy and gave no one a moment's peace.

At 10 months, Henyard went to live with his godmother, who tried to provide a stable home. Between then and his 11th year, he bounced between his godmother and mother. Then -- fed up with his attitude and behavior -- his godmother took him to live with his father in South Florida, where he stayed until he was 16.

His mother and father made the same piteous plaint on the witness stand in 1994 when they pleaded for his life: They did the best they could do. Clearly, the best didn't involve putting themselves out to steer the boy toward becoming an even marginally decent member of society. By their own accounts, they brought this child into the world, then took almost no responsibility. He just came up on his own...

Fifteen years have passed. Jamilya probably would have graduated from college and be starting her life as a grown woman. Jasmine likely would be in her freshman year, a teenager sorting out her options for the future.

Understandably, Lewis doesn't want to talk about this anymore -- not the crimes, not the girls, not Henyard, not herself. She has replayed the scenes a million times in her head, where they bounce around the four plates and 24 screws that repaired her skull after Henyard put a bullet in her forehead...
(ASIDE: Marietta Jaeger's daughter Susie was abducted at the age of seven during a family camping trip in Montana. For over a year afterwards, the family knew nothing of Susie's whereabouts...Marietta was to learn that Susie had been killed on a remote Montana ranch a week after she disappeared. Despite her family's tragedy, she remains committed to forgiveness and has been an ardent opponent of the death penalty for the over 25 years since Susie's death.

PHOTO of Marietta Jaeger-Lane

(learn more about Marietta's story on The Journey of Hope website and follow the upcoming Journey of Hope in Montana)
More on Dorothy Lewis' story:

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Excerpt)
Killer of two girls to be put to death Execution scheduled for Tuesday
By Ron Word | The Associated Press
September 22, 2008

STARKE - When Florida resumed executions this summer after an 18-month moratorium, Gov. Charlie Crist wanted to sign death warrants for those convicted of the most heinous murders.

The governor said the ultimate punishment was certainly justified for Richard Henyard, 34, who is scheduled to die Tuesday.

Fifteen years ago, Henyard and a teenage accomplice carjacked Carol Lewis and her daughters, Jasmine, 3, and Jamilya, 7, outside a Central Florida grocery store. He told Lewis he was Satan when she prayed for help, raped her and then shot her repeatedly, but she survived. After the little girls cried out for their mother, Henyard participated in their executions.

"When you look at the horrific nature of this crime, it lets you know that the penalty he will receive is certainly justified," Crist said when he signed the death warrant, adding it is "unimaginable that any human being could carry out such a horrendous act."

"My life is a testimony to the fact that victims can be victorious through the power of prayer," Lewis, now 51 (a pastor and motivational speaker) wrote on a Web site, prayer for sexual trauma dot org...

Blog Note:

Despite the hint of closure in the first article, there is wide-spread experience by many victims that the death penalty leads to little if any...

May all who read this hold ALL who go through such unbelievable tragedy in the healing and power of prayer.

May all who are touched by Ms. Lewis' lack of vengeance be similarly seeking alternatives to killing and be in prayer for spiritual healing and release for the perpetrators, including for Henyard.

May all who have experienced victimization of any kind--like Ms. Lewis--find healing through prayer and/or in other ways.

May we all do all we can to help lead others to healing....

Perhaps, a simple caring letter of empathy to Dorothy Lewis sent through commentator, Lauren Ritchie, would be comforting and would also let Ritchie know there are others similarly without vengeance--yes, even in the worst scenarios imaginable.

Lritchie@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5918

Reminders with the upcoming Executions Scheduled Tuesday September 23rd in Georgia and Florida

404-656-5712. ...may be the best tel # for Georgia Board of Paroles

"...in reference to facsimile numbers, 404-651-8502 works...."

"...in reference to electronic messages.
clemency_informatio n@pap.state. ga.us

"...according to the individual with whom (Abe Bonowitz) spoke, more
than 84,000 electronic messages, more than 20,000 facsimiles and an
unquantified number of telephone calls had in favor of Mister Davis been



Still not too late to FAX the US Attorney General and White House as well....

PLEASE BE SURE TO ALSO DO WHAT YOU CAN TO STOP THE EXECUTION SCHEDULED TUESDAY IN FLORIDA!!! Please go to LINKS on this site (under archives) and click on Rick Halperin's site and also go to Death Penalty Information Center and NCADP.org for Action Information.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Troy Anthony Davis Update/Amnesty Press Release & Contacts

Today, Sunday September 21, 2008 There is word that Al Sharpton is calling for re-consideration of Clemency. Keep alert to see what other leaders will do...
Amnesty International--Press Release--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
First published Friday, September 12, 2008 (right after decision to deny clemency)

Amnesty Int. Condemns Parole Board Decision to Allow the Execution of Troy Davis
Organization Calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Intervene

Contact: Wende Gozan at 347/526-5520 or Jared Feuer at 404/668-8388

[Atlanta] – Amnesty International (AIUSA) today condemned in the strongest possible terms the decision to deny clemency to Troy Anthony Davis. The human rights organization, after attending today’s clemency hearing, called the decision a baffling and unbelievable perversion of justice.

“Nobody in that Parole Board room could have walked out today knowing with certainty that Davis committed murder,” said Jared Feuer, southern regional director for Amnesty International USA, who attended the clemency hearing. “The parole board went against its pledge to prevent the execution of any person where there is doubt as to his guilt.”

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing an off-duty Savannah police officer, despite the fact that police never produced a murder weapon and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime. Following his conviction, seven of the nine original witnesses have either recanted or changed their testimony in sworn affidavits; one of the remaining two is alleged to be the actual killer.

“It is baffling that this decision could have been rendered in a case that has completely unraveled, and is now leaving a shameful stain on Georgia’s reputation,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. ”The U.S. Supreme Court must intervene immediately and unequivocally to prevent this perversion of justice.”
Please see and remember troyanthonydavis dot org to check often for updates (Martina's and others) and find Amnesty's and other ONLINE ACTIONS.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Updates: Troy Davis

From: Sharpton coming to Georgia to pray for Troy Davis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published Saturday, September 20, 2008

New York civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton is on his way to Georgia. He plans to pray on death row with ... Troy Anthony Davis Saturday night and afterwards hold a press conference outside Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

Sharpton is the latest prominent figure to take up the cause of Davis, 39, who is scheduled for execution by lethal injection Tuesday night. Last week Davis lost his appeal for clemency to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Former Georgia congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr wrote a letter to the parole board this week asking it to reconsider the Davis case because, he wrote, “the doubts about the Davis case have not been resolved, and fears that Georgia might execute an innocent man have not been allayed.”

Other News -- Atlanta -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called today on the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to reverse its decision to deny clemency to Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for an alleged murder of a Savannah police officer in 1991. "This case illustrates the deep flaws in the application of the death penalty in this country," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "Executing Troy Davis without a real examination of potentially exonerating evidence risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice. The citizens of Georgia should demand the highest standards of proof when our legal system condemns on our behalf a man or woman to die."

Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the NAACP said Saturday they are planning another rally at 11 a.m. Monday in front of the Georgia State Capitol to urge the parole board to reconsider or the state Supreme Court to stay the execution of Davis while his case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case has attracted worldwide attention, with calls to stop his execution from Pope Benedict XVI, Amnesty International and Nobel Peace Prize-Winner Desmond Tutu. Rallies have been held as far away as Paris, France.

ACTION for TROY-- Right Away!

Troy Anthony Davis is facing Execution in Georgia this Tuesday, September 23 at 7 PM

We need to hold officials to their word when they say such truths as the following:

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears recently wrote, "I believe … it's time to examine whether Georgia's current method of enforcing the death penalty and its attending consequences are compatible with the dignity, morality, and decency of society's enlightened consciousness, and is reflective of a humane system of justice."

WELL NOW'S THAT TIME! And before one more--Troy Davis--is gone.

Even if you've signed other petitions, MORE new letters are wanted. Please send your letters (they can be short) to the each of the following Parole Board numbers so that each and all the members will RECONSIDER the recent decision to deny clemency...The letter can be the same to each as I understand this. (It's possible that the online actions for some other groups may be unavailable at this time)

FAX DIRECTLY -- Please Send Letters for Reconsideration to all of these if possible:

Georgia Parole Board Fax Numbers:
(404)-651-8502 (404)-651-6670 (404)-651-5282 (404)-463-6627

Some, including Martina, Troy's sister, are also calling for Mass Letters to US Attorney General (CC to Georgia Attorney General and the White House)

Consider using some of the points made by Bob Herbert just below.

Hold in the light: Troy, Martina, ALL Family & Friends, lawyers, the Georgia officials & others concerned.

What’s the Rush? (Stop the next Georgia Execution!)

Georgia Weather: Very Gloomy
Let' try to change the weather for Troy Davis and his family!

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed on September 23 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, yet serious doubts of his guilt remain and compelling evidence of his innocence has not been heard in court. On Friday, September 12, the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency to Davis -- we must urge them to reconsider their decision. (Amnesty I/USA)

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to make a decision on whether to hear a last-ditch appeal by Mr. Davis on Sept. 29. That’s six days AFTER the state of Georgia plans to kill him. (excerpt, Op-Ed below)

By Op-Ed Columnist for New York Times BOB HERBERT

Troy Davis, who was convicted of shooting a police officer to death in the parking lot of a Burger King in Savannah, Ga., is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.

There is some question as to his guilt (even the pope has weighed in on this case), but the odds of Mr. Davis escaping the death penalty are very slim. Putting someone to death whose guilt is uncertain is always perverted, but there’s an extra dose of perversion in this case.

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to make a decision on whether to hear a last-ditch appeal by Mr. Davis on Sept. 29. That’s six days AFTER the state of Georgia plans to kill him.

Mr. Davis’s lawyers have tried desperately to have the execution postponed for those few days, but so far to no avail. Georgia is among the most cold-blooded of states when it comes to dispatching prisoners into eternity.

So the lawyers are now trying to get the Supreme Court to issue a stay, or decide before Tuesday on whether it will consider the appeal.

No one anywhere would benefit from killing Mr. Davis on Tuesday, as opposed to waiting a week to see how the Supreme Court rules. So why the rush? The murder happened in 1989, and Mr. Davis has been on death row for 17 years. Six or seven more days will hardly matter.

Most of the time, the court declines to hear such cases.

If that’s the decision this time, Georgia can get on with the dirty business of taking a human life. If the court agrees to hear the appeal, it would have an opportunity to get a little closer to the truth of what actually happened on the terrible night of Aug. 19, 1989, when Officer Mark Allen MacPhail was murdered.

He was shot as he went to the aid of a homeless man who was being pistol-whipped in the parking lot.

Nine witnesses testified against Mr. Davis at his trial in 1991, but SEVEN of the nine have since changed their stories. One of the recanting witnesses, Dorothy Ferrell, said she was on parole when she testified and was AFRAID that she’d be sent back to prison if she didn’t agree to finger Mr. Davis.

She said in an affidavit: “I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I DIDN'T KNOW who shot the officer.”

Another witness, Darrell Collins, a teenager at the time of the murder, said the police had “SCARED” him into falsely testifying by threatening to charge him as an accessory to the crime. He said they told him that he might never get out of prison.

“I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong,” he said.

At least three witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis (and a number of others who were not part of the trial) have since said that a man named Sylvester “Redd” Coles admitted that he was the one who had killed the officer.

Mr. Coles, who was at the scene, and who, according to authorities, later ditched a gun of the same caliber as the murder weapon, is one of the two witnesses who have not recanted.

The other is a man who initially told investigators that he could not identify the killer. Nearly two years later, at the trial, he testified that the killer was Mr. Davis.

So we have here a mess that is difficult, perhaps impossible, to sort through in a way that will yield reliable answers. (The jury also convicted Mr. Davis of a nonfatal shooting earlier that same evening on testimony that was even more dubious.)

There was no physical evidence against Mr. Davis, and the murder weapon was never found. As for the witnesses, their testimony was obviously shaky in the extreme — not the sort of evidence you want to rely upon when putting someone to death.

In March, the State Supreme Court in Georgia, in a 4-to-3 decision, denied Mr. Davis’s request for a new trial. The chief justice, Leah Ward Sears, writing for the minority, said: “In this case, nearly every witness who identified Davis as the shooter at trial has now disclaimed his or her ability to do so reliably.”

Amnesty International conducted an extensive examination of the case, documenting the many recantations, inconsistencies, contradictions and unanswered questions. Its report on the case drew widespread attention, both in the U.S. and overseas.

William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I., has said that a closer look at the case is warranted. And Pope Benedict XVI has urged authorities in Georgia to re-sentence Mr. Davis to life in prison.

Rushing to execute Mr. Davis on Tuesday makes no sense at all.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

"I don’t know how to explain to you that when the state executes someone, they are killing someone’s child. Jerry was my son, the child of my body, and I sat and watched him strapped to a cross – not a gurney, because what it looks like is a cross, with the arms straight out – and I saw him take his last look at me and then I saw all the blood drain from his face." Celia McWee, of Georgia, who lost two children, one to murder and another to an unrelated execution. Cece is also part of the Journey of Hope family.

Celebration of Rachel King in Washington, DC on October 12

Dear Friends and Family:

There will be a memorial service celebrating the life of Rachel King on Sunday, October 12, at 3 pm, at Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 3133 Dumbarton Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007.

We look forward to seeing many of Rachel's friends and colleagues from the Washington area.

Dumbarton United Methodist Church is located at 3133 Dumbarton Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Dumbarton Street intersects Wisconsin Avenue NW, and between N Street and O Street NW, in historic Georgetown. Dumbarton Street begins at Wisconsin Ave.

For a map and further directions, see

Directions to the Rachel King Celebration

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recap of Recent Happenings/Studies/Books

First, the MOST important happening is the rash of terrible tragic state killings coming one right after the other. All you have to do is go to the listings for Texas alone. Troy Davis' in Georgia scheduled next...DO ALL YOU CAN TO SPEAK OUT, call, write Governor--get Pope's and Bishop's office to send Georgia Faxes, etc. and do the SAME for EACH scheduled execution you possibly can. Embarrass these guys for their misuse of human life and their own state (tax payers') money--Go a number of the abolition websites (some under LINKS on the lower Right on this blog-site)to see the many others scheduled soon and suggested actions. Watch here for more on these with links soon.

Texas DNA Exoneration of Death Row Inmate Michael Blair Brings Innocence Total to 130

The Collin County court in Texas has dismissed capital murder charges against Michael Blair who had been on death row for the 1993 murder of Ashley Estell. After more than a decade of legal appeals and requests for DNA testing, the hair evidence that had been used to convict Blair was shown to be mistaken. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that no reasonable jury would convict Blair based on the existing evidence.

NEW VOICES: Dallas D.A. To Re-Examine Death Penalty Convictions and Possibly Halt Executions: Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins announced that he will be reexamining nearly 40 death penalty convictions in his county. No executions will occur in the county until he has reviewed the cases in detail. Watkins said he will start with the oldest cases as they are most likely to be scheduled first. “I’m not saying I’m putting a moratorium on the death penalty,” said Watkins.

Murder Rate Declines in Every Region Except the South, Where Executions Are Most Prevalent: According to the F.B.I.'s latest crime report released on September 15, the South is the only region in the country that experienced a rise in its murder rate in 2007. The FBI reported that the murder rate in the country declined to 5.6 murders per 100,000 people in 2007 from 5.7 in 2006, and the rate declined in the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West. In the South, however, the murder rate increased from 6.8 in 2006 to 7.0 in 2007, the highest rate among the four regions. The South consistently has had the highest murder rate among the four regions.

Various Sources including Death Penalty Information Center--Also see on this site:
New Study Finds Death Penalty to Be Applied Unfairly (recently on this blog-site for early September)

Also please check out LINKS on the lower RIGHT of this blog (below the archives)

Especially watch Texas and Georgia (PLEASE SIGN PETITION FOR TROY DAVIS if you haven't already--you can find it everywhere & also several places on this blog-site!)

CHECK out the faithful abolitionists in Texas: Death Penalty News and Updates: Rick Halperin's site, Prevention Not Punishment:Kristin Houle's blog-site, Murder Victims for Human Rights website(new exciting project!) and ALL the others listed for frequent updates including recent studies, concerns and way too many upcoming scheduled state killings.

BUY and READ our JOH "family member" Dave Atwood's NEW Book: -Detour to Death Row- and check out other Texas abolition and moratorium sites. (Pray for Peggy & Dave Atwood with all they face due to the hurricane IKE! They reside in Houston!)BUY and READ the new book: New book: -Execution's Doorstep: True Stories of the Innocent and Near Damned- which also includes some of Ron Keine's story--also a JOH "family member" (SEE REVIEWS for these books just recently for September in our archives.) Photo is of runner on Walking Bridge in Austin, Texas

Now here's a quote well worth repeating here often--found and posted by Rick on September 15th!

Plea Against the Death Penalty

Look, examine, reflect. You hold capital punishment up as an example. Why? Because of what it teaches. And just what is it that you wish to teach by means of this example? That thou shalt not kill. And how do you teach that "thou shalt not kill"? By killing.

I have examined the death penalty under each of its 2 aspects: as a direct action, and as an indirect one. What does it come down to? Nothing but something horrible and useless, nothing but a way of shedding blood that is called a crime when an individual commits it, but is (sadly) called "justice" when society brings it about. Make no mistake, you lawmakers and judges, in the eyes of God as in those of conscience, what is a crime when individuals do it is no less an offense when society commits the deed.

Victor Hugo, Speech at the Constituent Assembly, September 15, 1848

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two different district attorneys - which approach to the risk of taking an innocent life do YOU like better?

"I don't want someone executed on my watch for something they didn't do."

All of us would sign this sentence, wouldn't we? But think about this:

This week Dallas DA Craig Watkins made the remarkable statement he would re-examine nearly 40 death penalty convictions and would seek to halt executions, if necessary, to give the reviews time to proceed.

On the other hand Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency to Troy Davis although 7 of the original 9 witnesses have recanted by now. Davis is scheduled to be executed in just a few days.

Comparing these two stories I'll quote from here, think about the different approach to things and afterwards - if you get to the same conclusions I do - please help to save the life of an innocent man!

First article (Dallas Morning News):

Dallas County DA wants to re-examine nearly all of pending death row cases

Troubled that innocent people have been imprisoned by faulty prosecutions, District Attorney Craig Watkins said Monday that he would re-examine nearly 40 death penalty convictions and would seek to halt executions, if necessary, to give the reviews time to proceed.

Mr. Watkins told The Dallas Morning News that problems exposed by 19 DNA-based exonerations in Dallas County have convinced him he should ensure that no death row inmate is actually innocent.

"It's not saying I'm putting a moratorium on the death penalty," said Mr. Watkins, whose reviews would be of all of the cases now on death row handled by his predecessors. "It's saying that maybe we should withdraw those dates and look at those cases from a new perspective to make sure that those individuals that are on death row need to be there and they need to be executed."

He cited the exonerations and stories by The News about problems with those prosecutions as the basis for his decision. The exonerations have routinely revealed faulty eyewitness testimony and, in a few cases, prosecutorial misconduct.[...]

"At the end of the day, I'm not saying these people shouldn't be executed," Mr. Watkins said.

But, he added, "I don't want someone to be executed on my watch for something they didn't do." [...]

And here's the second story (Christopher Hill, ACLU Capital Punishment Project)

Lyin’ Eyes

In the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup there is the famous quote which has been paraphrased over the years. The quote asks, "who are you going to believe, me or your lyin' eyes?” That line has become particularly poignant, and much less funny, in the context of today’s criminal justice system.

In many murder cases the only evidence available is eyewitnesses’ testimony, and Chico ’s quote has dire consequences when a jury is asked to convict someone of murder based solely on eyewitness testimony. ”Lyin’ eyes” are responsible for convicting Troy Davis in Georgia and sending him to death row. On Friday, September 12, Davis was denied clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles despite substantial and convincing evidence that he is almost certainly innocent and that faulty eyewitness testimony led to his conviction. He has filed an appeal for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles still has the discretion to hear his case again. If those actions fail, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, September 23 .

Eyewitnesses were the only evidence used to convict Davis for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. No murder weapon was found. There is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. There was only eyewitness testimony.

Now, seven of the nine non-police eyewitnesses have recanted. They say they were coerced by the police to implicate Davis . One eyewitness signed a statement that he was unable to read. Unfortunately for Davis , however, his attorneys at trial did not investigate the possible police misconduct in obtaining the witness testimony.

Even when people are not coerced into lying, eyewitness testimony is extremely unreliable. Research has shown – and we all know – that the human memory is not perfect and eyewitnesses sometimes just get it wrong.

The Innocence Project has found that inaccurate eyewitness testimony is involved in more than 75% of the convictions overturned by DNA evidence. And DNA cases are a tiny slice of all convictions nationwide, so the number of wrongful convictions based on eyewitness misidentification could be astronomical.

Several organizations have suggested solutions to improve eyewitness identification procedures. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Center on Wrongful Convictions, The Innocence Project and The Justice Project have all provided alternatives to the eyewitness identification systems commonly used by law enforcement agencies. These solutions include sequential double-blind presentation of suspects – where suspect (or their photos) are presented one at a time, and both the person asked to make an identification and the person asking for the identification are unaware of who in the lineup or photographs is suspected of the crime.

Davis will not benefit from any change in eyewitness procedures. In fact, the way the statements were gathered against him was illegal. In addition to the other procedures, perhaps there should be real and harsh punishments for law enforcement officials that coerce eyewitnesses and use that testimony. It is unacceptable that innocent people are imprisoned or sentenced to death because of unreliable and, sometimes, illegally obtained testimony.

If Davis 's execution is allowed to proceed, we could all be witnesses to the death of a man who is almost certainly innocent. Then, we would only wish our eyes were lying.

"I don't want someone executed on my watch for something they didn't do."

I wonder whether the DA in Georgia would sign this sentence as well....?

The article above is due to the ongoing diligent work of my co-blogger, Susanne.
She raises an important question which include and lead to other concerns underlined in articles below. IF we are to continue to allow executions in the US as prevention of future crimes, just how do they work as deterrence? Have you ever heard a good explanation? Are we really doing anything about prevention by demonstrating more concern to execute recently in Texas for the world to see while the world and the US also see how many people are going homeless and without power for days and perhaps weeks on end in places like Texas? (see Susanne's piece on this below)

How can a state's executions help prevent or stop crime while this same state continues to raise the frustration and powerlessness of so many people who are not "well-connected"? How many realize the cost to a state of the long process that culminates in an execution? How many realize that even with the necessary length and cost of the most minimal of court-appointed legal aid, there are still many many who are executed with questions of possible innocence?

We are grateful for the many heroic efforts of so many including the medical, rescue groups, churches and Red Cross folk--some of these crises are just simply without obvious solution. Yet, what images and facts do we want to remain in the mind of folk near and far about US and state priorities and all the recent executions?

Texas DNA Exoneration of Death Row Inmate Michael Blair Brings Innocence Total to 130

The Collin County court in Texas has dismissed capital murder charges against Michael Blair who had been on death row for the 1993 murder of Ashley Estell. After more than a decade of legal appeals and requests for DNA testing, the hair evidence that had been used to convict Blair was shown to be mistaken. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that no reasonable jury would convict Blair based on the existing evidence.

The District Attorney’s office filed a motion to dismiss the charges on August 25, stating, “It has been determined that this case should be dismissed in the interest of justice so that the offense charged in the indictment can be further investigated.” The Plano Police Department is now reinvestigating the 15-year-old case to find the true killer. The DNA evidence that cleared Blair indicates that another man, now deceased, is a plausible suspect in the girl's death. Referred to only as “Suspect 4” in court documents, this possible perpetrator showed an obsession with the victim and bought a grave plot as close as he could get next to her resting place. He has been deceased for at least 10 years.

The case was made famous in the mid-1990’s by a series of legal reforms known as “Ashley’s Laws.” Named after the victim Ashley Estell, these laws created longer prison sentences and lifetime sex offender registration requirements.

According to DPIC’s innocence list, Blair is the fourth person to be exonerated from death row in 2008 and the ninth in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated. His case brings the total number of exonerations from death row to 130 since 1973. Blair remains in prison on other charges.

DPIC’s innocence list consists of those former death row inmates who have been acquitted of all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row, who have had all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row dismissed by the prosecution, or who have been granted a complete pardon based on evidence of innocence.

This dismissal comes on the heels of a statement by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins that he will re-examine nearly 40 death penalty convictions and would halt executions, if necessary, to give the reviews time to proceed. After an exoneration of an innocent man in his first week in office and a total of 19 DNA-based (non-death penalty) exonerations in his county, Watkins wanted to ensure that no innocent people were executed during his tenure. “I don’t want someone to be executed on my watch for something they didn’t do,” explained Watkins. Texas leads the country in executions with 414, including 9 this year.

(W. Hundley, "Collin County Court dismisses murder charge in Ashley Estell Case", Dallas Morning News, September 16, 2008; innocence list information from DPIC).
source: Death Penalty Information Center

Execution more important than needs of people?

After Ike thousands of people are still without water supply, electricity or even without a home. Huntsville alone has more than 7000 people without energy. And in some areas of Texas the people will have to wait until Monday to have electricity restored.

But last night William Murray got executed in Huntsville. As it seems there are no problems with electricity or other things the inhabitants of this town have to struglle with for the execution team. Business as usual.

I can't help myself but to me this seems like an absurdity and perversion: here comes the state of Texas, not being able to make sure the people's basic needs are being fulfilled but on the other hand having no problems to go on with executions. One really starts to wonder where Texas sets its priorities...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ga. executes Jack Alderman, on death row 34 years--20th man executed in Georgia by Lethal Injection

SEPTEMBER 16, 2008:


Alderman's death by lethal injection took 14 minutes

The 20th man executed in Georgia by lethal injection took 14 minutes to die Tuesday night...

Adlerman, pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m. Tuesday, has been on death row almost 35 years -- longer than any of the 109 death row inmates in Georgia. He was convicted of the 1974 Chatham County murder of wife Barbara Alderman...

When that conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court, he was convicted in a 2nd trial in 1984.

An accomplice in the murder, John Arthur Brown--Brown was paroled in 1987 and died a free man in New York in 2000.

Alderman's attorney, Michael Seiml, said Tuesday night — after he had exhausted his last appeals to the Georgia parole board for clemency and to the U.S. Supreme Court -- that Alderman, 57, was a model prisoner who deserved to have his death sentence reduced to life. "...the same board that refused clemency for Alderman this morning offered Brown parole," Seiml said. He [Alderman] has been the model prison for 34 years. If that's not enough to get clemency, it's hard to imagine what is."

...No members of Alderman's family witnessed the execution, said Georgia Department of Corrections spokesman Paul Czachowski. 2 members of Barbara Alderman's family were at the prison but did not witness the execution.

Alderman made a recorded statement earlier in the day "thanking everyone who made his life better, considering the circumstances," said Czachowski, paraphrasing the condemned man’s comment.

Alderman declined a final comment. A chaplain prayed for him, saying at one point "Jack, may Christ … free you from excruciating pain." Alderman was administered the lethal injection with needles in each arm while he was strapped down.

Alderman did not make a special last meal request. Instead, at 4 p.m. Tuesday he was given the regular prison meal.

"He barely touched it," said Czachowski.

Alderman becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Georgia and the 43rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1983.

Alderman becomes the 21st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1120th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

(Excerpt from Atlanta Journal-Constitution & Rick Halperin)