Sunday, March 15, 2009

TEXAS Doings This Week and Soon! (Law of Parties and more)

We need people to come to the capitol this Thursday, March 19, because the Capital Punishment subcommittee in the Texas House of Representatives in Austin will hold a hearing on a bill to end the death penalty under the Law of Parties and other bills on a moratorium on executions and a death penalty study commission. The Law of Parties is the law that allowed Kenneth Foster and Jeff Wood to be sentenced to death, even though they did not kill anyone or intend anyone to be killed.

We need as many people as possible to go over to the capitol and sign in - in support of HB 877, HJR 24 and HB 2267. All you have to do is fill out a postcard sized form in the room where the hearing is taking place and mark that you are in favor, then you can leave. Or you can stay and testify in person.

The meeting starts at 8 AM, but it is likely to recess at 9 and then reconvene after the full House adjourns around 11. There are other bills scheduled to be heard at this meeting too, so we don't know what time the Law of Parties bill will be heard, but you can sign the form as being in support at any time while the meeting is taking place and then leave. Try to be there at 8 AM, but come later if that is the only way.

The hearing is in room E2.016 at the Texas Capitol at 11th and Congress. Take the elevator down to level E2.

Call Scott Cobb at 512-552-4743, if you have questions. Email Scott at if you can come to the Capitol and fill out a form in favor of the Law of Parties bill. It only takes five minutes to fill out the form.

Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $.75 for each half- hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $6.00). Metered spaces are available throughout the area.

If you can not make it to Austin, we need you to call or email the following members of the subcommittee on Capital Punishment and say that you want the committee to approve HB 2267, the Law of Parties bill. Please be polite in your letters. You can mention that people who do not kill anyone should certainly not be subject to the death penalty.

Members of the Subcommittee on Capital Punishment

Robert Miklos, Chair of Subcommittee on Capital Punishment
District 101 (Dallas County)
Send him an Email
Phone: 512-463-0464; FAX: 512-463-9295

Wayne Christian (Vice Chair), District 09 (Shelby, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine, Jasper Counties)
Send him an Email
Phone: 512-463-0556; FAX: 512-463-5896

Joseph Moody, District 78 (El Paso County-part) Send him an Email
Phone: 512-463-0728; FAX: 512-463-0397

Pete Gallego
Send him an Email
Phone: 512-463-0566; FAX: 512-263-9408

Terri Hodge (Sponsor of Law of Parties bill, so no need to contact her)

This is happening because we have been pushing for a new law ever since 2007 when Kenneth Foster's death sentence under the Law of Parties was commuted to life. You can see our press conference from Feb 24 on this YouTube video.

Lobby Day Against the Texas Death Penalty March 24

Tuesday March 24, 2009
Texas State Capitol
11th and Congress
Austin, Texas

Fill out the form to register for Lobby Day!

This is shaping up to be the largest Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty ever. Come attend and be a part of an historic day of anti-death penalty advocacy at the Texas capitol! Tell your grandkids you did something to help abolish the death penalty in Texas by attending the Lobby Day in 2009!

Every Texas legislative session since 2003, the anti- death penalty community in Texas has rallied at the Texas capitol to lobby legislators to end the death penalty. In 2009, there have already been several bills filed that we will be lobbying in favor of, including a bill to end the death penalty under the Law of Parties, an abolition bill, a death penalty study commission and moratorium on executions bill, a resolution to impeach Sharon Keller and other issues.

Sponsored by Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty - Austin Chapter, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas CURE, the Student Prison Caucus, the Abolish the Death Penalty Caucus of the Texas Democratic Part, the Eye & Tooth Project: Forum Theatre on the Death Penalty, Kids Against the Death Penalty. and People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources (PODER). (If your organization would like to participate or be one of the Lobby Day sponsors, contact us at 512 961 6389 or by email to

Please make plans to be in Austin on Tuesday, March 24, so that we can all raise our voices together against the injustice of the Texas death penalty.

Schedule. You do not have to attend all events.

9 AM: Pick up clipboards and materials for those people who have already been trained and do not need to attend the 10 AM training session. Same location as workshop at 10 AM

10 AM - Noon Lobbying Training Workshop Location: University of Texas at Austin, Sanchez Building (College of Education) in the Cissy McDaniel Parker Dean's Conference Room located near Congress Ave and MLK, between University Avenue and the Blanton Museum of Art (just north of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum)

12:00 Break for Lunch on your own (there is a cafeteria in the Capitol)

1 PM Press Conference in the House Speaker's Committee Room 2W.6 in the Capitol

Afternoon: Visiting legislative offices and attending committee hearings (If any committees will be hearing any death penalty related bills that day, we will know five days before the event.)

5:30 PM Rally on the South Steps of the Capitol (Musical Guest: Aaron Blount)

If you are coming to Lobby Day, you can call the offices of your state senator and state representative and tell them you are coming to Austin on March 24 and would like to meet with someone in their office.

Last Saturday, there was a very well-attended lobby training session in Houston. It was organized by Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement and conducted by aides to State Rep Dutton and State Rep Farrar.

You can find out who your legislators are by going to the link below and entering your address: here

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of Jeanette's New Book
Jeanette Popp, mother of a murder victim and TMN's former chairperson has just published a new book, Mortal Justice: A True Story of Murder and Vindication.

Her book tells the story of her daughter Nancy's murder, the wrongful conviction of two innocent men Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, their eventual exoneration, the subsequent conviction of the real killer, and Jeanette's many years of activism against the death penalty, including a jailhouse meeting with the real killer and her successful efforts to prevent him from being sentenced to death.

A recent Dallas Morning News article said, "Ms. Popp asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, because she says she did not want her daughter's memory stained with someone's blood. "I'm not a bleeding heart liberal," she says. "But I do have a heart."

Jeanette plans to come to Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty on March 24 at the Texas Capitol in Austin. She will also be in Austin this Thursday to testify to the committee in favor of a moratorium on executions and on ending the death penalty under the Law of Parties.

In 2001, Jeanette's testimony to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee was instrumental in persuading that committee to vote in favor of a moratorium on executions. This year, the same committee will again consider a proposal for a moratorium on executions and to create a commission to study the death penalty system in Texas.

It would be great if Jeanette would be able to give signed copies of her book to members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. As a mother of a murder victim who opposes the death penalty and campaigned to prevent her daughter's killer from getting the death penalty, her story is very powerful, so she can really help us on Lobby Day. Already 15 copies of the book have been donated for Jeanette to give to legislators.

You can buy a copy of the book for yourself on Amazon.

We want to give copies of her book to legislators on Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty on March 24, signed by her and personally delivered by her, but to do that, we have to buy the books.

So, if anyone would like to make a donation, we need donations to help us buy 20 books for Jeanette to give away on Lobby Day March 24.

If you want to donate 15 dollars per book so we can buy a book, you can donate online here or send a check to:

Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731

Or you can buy a book on Amazon, read it, then give it to us so she can give it away to legislators on Lobby Day. Of course, as the author, she gets a percentage of all sales from her publisher, so if you buy a book, you help her increase sales.

You can also buy a book on Amazon and have it sent it to us at the address above. We will give it to Jeanette to sign and she will give it legislators during Lobby Day Against the Death Penalty at the Texas Capitol...

...In her new book, Jeanette includes the story of her jailhouse meeting with the man who had murdered her daughter in 1988 in Austin. Two innocent men were wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for 12 years before they were exonerated and the real kill was found and convicted. She tells the story in her book of how she met with the real killer in jail before his trial because she wanted to convince him to take a plea bargain and accept life in prison instead of going to trial and risking the death penalty.

No comments: