Tuesday, April 05, 2011

TEXAS: Execution Stopped!

Death row exoneree Clarence Brandley speaking to a reporter outside the committee hearing on March 29 before he testified to the committee urging them to vote for the bill to enact a moratorium on executions. Clarence is an innocent man who spent ten years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court Has Stopped Today's Scheduled Execution of Cleve Foster in Texas

The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday morning granted a stay of execution to Cleve Foster, a former Army recruiter convicted of killing a woman he met in a Fort Worth bar who was scheduled to be executed Tuesday evening in Texas. It is the second time he has been spared hours before his appointed death by the Supreme Court.

The reprieve, in place while the court examines the case of Mr. Foster, 47, is based on whether he received adequate counsel during the course of the case, as well as questions related to his guilt, said Maurie Levin, one of Mr. Foster’s lawyers.
Ms. Levin has also challenged the execution of Mr. Foster based on one of the drugs that is to be used to kill him.

“I’m thrilled that the Supreme Court stayed Mr. Foster’s execution, and we hope they will be looking at the issues raised, including effective Habeus counsel and Mr. Foster’s claims of innocence,” Ms. Levin said. “I am also relieved that at least today that we will not be seeing an execution in the midst of the chaos surrounding questions about lethal injection.”

There will be no protest at 5:30 in Austin today since the execution has been stayed.
Please Call the Committee Members Below and Urge them to Vote in Favor of the Bill for a Moratorium on Executions

The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence held a hearing on March 29 on several death penalty related bills, including a bill for a moratorium on executions and a death penalty study commission. Texas Death Row Exoneree Clarence Brandley attended the hearing and spoke in favor of a moratorium on executions and in favor of abolishing the death penalty.

Texas Moratorium Network's Scott Cobb read a letter to the Committee in support of the moratorium bill from former Texas Governor Mark White (watch video). TMN also delivered a letter to the committee from Charles Terrell, former chairman of the Texas Criminal Justice Department. The Dallas Morning News published the letters under the headline: "Widespread support for a moratorium on display today in Austin".

Media coverage of the hearing on a moratorium on executions and other bills

"Texas House panel considers death penalty bills"
AP (distributed nationwide)

"Bill calls for two-year moratorium on executions in Texas"
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Texas House Panel Considers Bills on Death Penalty Moratorium" (Video)
Includes statements by death row exoneree Clarence Brandley and State Rep Harold Dutton. FOX 7 Austin See this and other videos here

We had a successful hearing, now we need your help in convincing the committee members to vote in favor of the bill for a moratorium on executions.

There is no set schedule for a vote. Usually what happens is that if the chair of the committee, with input from the author of the bill or others on the committee, determines that there are enough votes to pass a bill, then the chair will bring up the bill for a vote.

Please call the members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and urge them to vote in favor of HB 1641, the bill for a moratorium on executions and a death penalty study commission. We need at least five members of the committee to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass out of the committee. We are close to getting that number for the moratorium bill, so please call the committee members and urge them to vote for HB 1641, the bill for a moratorium on executions.

Below are three of the members of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee that we would like to target this week. We will target others next week. Right now, please call these three members, who are all Republicans, and urge them to vote for HB 1641 because you are concerned that innocent people are at risk of being executed. Tell them that the case of Anthony Graves makes it clear that Texas needs a moratorium on executions. (leaving these easy to cut and paste. If you want to use the email form (clearly not my favorite way as I do believe calls usually have more impact) - simply cut and paste the email URL into the search or google space.

Jose Aliseda (Republican, District 35 - Beeville)
fax: (512) 463-0559
phone: (512) 463-0645
Email form http://tinyurl.com/josealiseda

Cindy Burkett (Republican, District101 – Mesquite)
fax: (512) 463-9295
phone: (512) 463-0464
Email form http://tinyurl.com/cindyburkett

Stefani Carter (Republican,District 102 – Dallas)
fax: (512) 463-1121
phone: (512) 463-0454
Email form http://tinyurl.com/stefanicarter

You can also donate by sending a check made out to Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731

Yours sincerely,

Texas Moratorium Network


CEDP is holding an event this Thursday in Austin with Anthony Graves, who was exonerated from death row just last year.

"Lethal Injustice: Standing up against the death penalty and other harsh punishments"

Featuring recently exonerated death row prisoner Anthony Graves!

Austin, Tx

April 7th at 7PM

At UT Austin, UTC Rm. 1.102 (Campus Map)

(On 21st between University and Speedway - paid parking in Jester Garage)

RSVP here

Featuring Anthony Graves, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years on Texas death row before he was freed just last year. Lawrence Foster, grandfather of Kenneth Foster who spent 11 years on death row before his sentence was commuted in 2007 by Governor Perry. Laura Brady, abolitionist and activist with the Campaign to END the Death Penalty.

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