Friday, September 15, 2006


Getting the Message Out

I just got back from spending an hour on the corner of 21st Avenue North and Blakemore/Wedgewood with six terrific TCASK volunteers getting the message out to everyone stuck in rush hour traffic about the state of Tennessee's intention to execute a mentally ill man on Tuesday. We held signs, talked to passers by, and handed out over 250 flyers with information on Daryl Holton's case and a message for the Governor along with his phone number. Even if only a fraction of those people call, not a bad way to spend an hour. In addition to which we got two media hits out of the event, including an interview on News Channel 5 which should air at 10:00 tonight, if anyone's watching.

Plus, it was a fun time. And it's not too late for you to get in on the fun. We'll be doing two more public education events tomorrow, at 10:30 am at 25th and West End and at 5:00 pm at Woodland and 2nd. Why those places? Because you want to go where the people are, and those two places are where Vanderbilt and TSU will be playing their football games tomorrow. So come and join us. Just meet us at the TCASK office (at 508 Main Street) a half an hour before the event. Give us a call at (615) 256-3906 and let us know that you're coming and that you want to participate, and we'll make sure that we have enough signs and flyers for you.

And thanks again to James, Jennifer, Lillian, Paul, Andrea, and Melissa, a great group that certainly got 'er done this evening.
Comments :
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nope - enough said!
and your pro or anti death penalty?
I apologize but the intial post contained vile and offensive language which cannot be permitted on the TCASK blog. We encourage a free and open discussion of ideas, but such a forum can only occur when mutal respect, including respectful language with no swearing or use of racial epithets is maintained
Daryl Holton needs to be executed. Why would anyone even try to save the life of a convicted child killer. He murdered 4 of his very own children. If that isn't worth being executed for then I don't know what is. This man is demented and I'm glad he chose the electric chair. It hasn't been used so long it will feel like Holton's being burned alive. Hopefully he will feel the same torture and pain his children felt as he murdered them.

Make's me sick to think that there are actually people out there who OPPOSE the death penalty and try to save the lives of worthless no good pieces of trash like Daryl Holton. To the Administrator of this blog...before you delete my comments like you did the other person's...just answer this one question...

DO YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT THE VICTIMS? Is it all about saving the life of others who took another human life? Do you even care or acknowledge the fact that this man shot and killed his 4 young innocent children to death? What purpose does Daryl Holton have in society now that he did this? He ruined many lives and he serves no purpose to this world. He is a CHILD-KILLER. do you hear that...A CHILD KILLER. Killing someone during a bank robbery,or after raping someone is one thing, but this man murdered 4 of his OWN CHILDREN. That's sick!!! hIS ASS NEEDS TO BE FRIED.

So when you get done reading this, just like you did the other guys...and after you delete this, why don't you respond by giving me a REAL answer that perhaps I can see why this man should even be spared at all. What's your reasoning?
Dear "Anonymous"

Thank you for your comments and for keeping your tone, if not respectful, than at least not offensive. I don't intend to delete your comments.

I have to admit that I am tired of death penalty supporters accusing abolitionists of not caring about the victims. One of the big myths about the death penalty is that it is good for victims. Not all victims' family members want the death penalty, I am personally honored to know a number of victims' family members who speak out against the use of capital punishment. But, on a deeper level, the death penalty system is simply one that retraumatizes victims over and over. Instead of having a trial, a sentence and beginning the healing process, the death penalty puts victims through years and years and appeals after appeal before (maybe) the sentence is carried out and they'll finally have "closure" as if suddenly it will be OK that their loved one was killed. Every legitimate study has found that the death penalty is far more expensive than life without parole, perhaps more than ten times as expensive. We've probably spent well over $100,000,000 on our death penalty system here in Tennessee and we've only executed 2 people. Do you really think that is the best thing for victims (more worthwhile than counseling and therapy) that we as a society can do for victims? In fact the death penalty forces us to focus for years on the offender rather than the victim.

Now, I know that you're saying, well we need to execute people faster and not give them all those appeals. But first, I'd like you to look Juan Melendez in the eye, a man who spent 17 years 8 months and 1 day on death row for a crime HE DIDN'T COMMIT and say that we should expedite the process, because you do that, and you just killed Juan.

I don't know an abolitionist who's heart doesn't go out to the families of murder victims. I don't know one of us who would dream of condoning the actions of those who commit murder. But we do say, that another killing does not solve anything. All it does is cause more pain and suffering, cost more money, and risk the execution of innocents. Why do all that when we have other options in our criminal justice system to protect society without killing anyone?

The only answer I can still find is revenge, and I can't accept revenge as the motivation for a public policy. We need to appeal to higher places in our nature than that when we're writing law.

Obviously, I doubt that you, "Anonymous," will ever agree with me, but to suggest that we at TCASK aren't concerned for victims' families or think that Holton's crime was somehow OK is simply to misrepresent, or willfully misunderstand, our position. I hope that we can at least agree that our society should be doing a lot more to help victims of violence.

Thanks for writing and reading
Okay, I apologize for my disrespectful comments before because I did step out of line by coming on your site publicly showing my true feelings. Everything I said is true, but I should have said it in a nicer way. In fact, I happen to be a very close friend of Rick Halperin, a professor who is anti-death penalty. You should know of him, everyone does.

As far as Daryl Holton goes, I cannot see Life Without Parole as a good enough or more harsh/severe punishment then death by electric chair. Better yet, I can't see how LWOP is better then death for any murderer. One thing you mentioned is Innocence. You speak of Juan Melendez. A jury convicted him of first degree murder and sentenced to death. It is true that he spent 17 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit, but in life....shit happens. I can't explain why he was ever convicted in the first place.I never bothered to actually read nor follow up on his case so I don't know the facts. What I do know is that what happened to Juan Melendez is EXTREMELY rare. Many people thought Roger Coleman was innocent, and they even went as far as to say that Virginia executed an innocent man...they didn't say MAY HAVE, they said Virginia DID! After his DNA was tested, it only confirmed his guilt even though he professed his innocence all the way to the moment he was zapped by electrocution back in 1992. Look how many murderers have professed there innocence. Please, I invite you to take a look at every last statement made by a death row offender this year who was executed. I'm not talking about just Tennessee, I'm talking every single state. Speaking of Sedley Alley of Tennessee though, you can't honestly tell me you thought that man was innocent. So much evidence linked him to the crime it was unreal. That man was doing everything he can to save his life. They went as far as going to the home of Judge Gilbert Merritt in the middle of the night to request a stay of execution which was temporarily granted....and geez Merritt didn't even have jurisdiction over the case. They chose Judge Merritt because they know he is as opposed to the death penalty as much as you are and would clear death row if he had the power. Innocence is something inmates proclaim just to try and delay their executions so DNA testing can stall their executions for more years. Sedley Alley was AFRAID to die. There was no doubt in my mind after reading all the media reports and seeing how many appeals he filed compared to any other inmate whose scheduled for execution in the U.S. Another case....look at Kevin Cooper on California death row. DNA testing confirmed his guilt even after he proclaimed his innocence.

Now this is the good one and I can't wait for your reply to this. You say that inmates who wait on death row sometimes for 20-30 years appealing their sentences causes trauma and heartache for the victims because they want justice with the death sentence finally being carried out. The truth is (and follow closely), I have actually read numerous cases where victims families opted for the prosecution to just stick with LWOP over the death penalty not because they are opposed to it, but simply because they believe LWOP is more of a severe punishment, they want the murderers to "rot" in prison for life.....and they say the appeals process is to long. Can you, or someone PLEASE explain to me how LWOP is effective over death by lethal injection because years of appeals keep an inmate alive trying to overturn his sentence. The bottom line is that the inmate is still in prison. You have to follow closely to understand what I am saying...Hear this

LWOP - Inmates are free to leave their cells, have physical contact and visualization with one another, more privelages and recreation, play board and card games,talk to each other, and develop gangs.

Death sentenced inmates - confined to their cells 23 out of 24 hours a day with no contact with any other human beings except for meetings with attorneys or family(which is limited). Inmates CANNOT leave their cells freely and are isolated away from all other people like they are caged animals.

and the have convicted murderers serving LWOP sentences and convicted murderers on death row. Who has the better of the worst?LWOP inmates for a number of reasons...even though they still don't have freedom they are entitled to alot more things/privelages. Death sentenced inmates live a more severe lifestyle behind bars awaiting execution so those who say that LWOP is more effective are misleading themselves. So when you hear victims families say LWOP is more harsh, you know the isn't. When you hear them say LWOP is better because death causes years and years of appeals.....what's the problem with that....the inmate is still behind bars just as if he were serving a LWOP sentence...except one day he will be executed.

I cannot counter your response to "COSTS" because you are correct. It is more expensive to keep someone on death row for years, but I think it's worth it.

I certainly cannot see why anyone would voluntarily try and have a sentence of a child killer commuted though. With all do respect, I just think it's disgusting. I know your opposed to the death penalty, but what I don't understand is WHY voluntarily try to save the life of a condemned man. It's easy for us pro-death penalty people to tell you why we support capital punishment. We can give you a million reasons in less then 10 minutes. I also can understand why other people are opposed to the death penalty, whether it be because of their religious beliefs or catholic faith, or maybe just because they believe it is premeditated murder on behalf of the state. What I DON'T understand though is why people like you are physically trying to have a sick man's death sentence like Holton's commuted? Like I said, I understand your opposition to the D.P but the fact that you would try to save the life of this man is disgusting. What I'm trying to say may be hard to understand. It just doesn't make sense to me why anyone would even give a shit about Holton. The man is a complete looney. After I saw those 4 young children of Holton's on a media reports which he murdered, I wanted to puke. To see those 4 beautiful looking children's lives taken from them makes me sick to my stomach. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes. I can't understand why anyone would even care if Holton actually was burned at the stake if that were to happen. I just hope he suffers greatly on Monday.

FYI: Briefs indicate that Daryl Holton is no longer a volunteer. By choosing not to appeal his sentence for 2-3 years at all, he lost any chance he had to appeal his conviction/sentence in the federal courts. As far as I see it now, Holton's execution is as serious as one in Texas, the death penalty capitol of the nation. I don't think even if Holton resumed his appeals he would even be entitled to get a stay...unless his competency is questioned.
Who cares if Juan Melendez was innocent.So DNA tests confirmed his innocence. It doesnt mean we should abolish the death penalty just because this man spent some 20 + years behind bars. Things in life will not always happen for the best.

I believe in the death penalty because it is a fair and just punishment for those convicted of ruthless murders,murders so vile and disgusting that life in prison simply would be to easy for any kind of person like that.
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