Wednesday, May 27, 2009
There's an extensive rebuttal posted after the op-ed by Dudley Sharp, a pro-death penalty advocate, who tracks op-eds opposed to the death penalty and attempts to refute them in ways that seem to support his arguments. Everything he talks about can be answered by facts on The Death Penaly Information Center's website. If you choose to respond to Mr. Sharp's comments, you don't have to rebut every single point. Pick one thing (innocence, cost, etc.) and respond briefly to that.
I hope you will read Warden McAndrew's op-ed. He spoke at the NCADP conference in January and received a standing ovation. His witness as someone who oversaw executions in Florida is a powerful one.
Friday, May 22, 2009
If you live in Connecticut, please call and e-mail Governor Rell. If you live in others parts of the country, think about who you know living in Connecticut and forward this action request to them. Ask them to contact Governor Rell and tell her to "please sign the bill to repeal the death penalty in Connecticut" The phone is 860-566-4840. The email: Governor.Rell@ct.gov
Letters, blog posts, and comments expressing a similar sentiment on the web pages of Connecticut newspapers would be useful as well.
This vote represents another milestone for the abolition movement, demonstrating that the public and lawmakers alike are becoming convinced that the death penalty is a costly, unfair system that cannot be trusted to convict and sentence only the guilty.
Congratulations to the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty for this stunning achievement.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Director of National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Reflects on the 132nd Death Row Exoneration
In 1991, Troy was convicted in the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail largely on the basis of eyewitness testimony - no physical evidence links him to the crime. Since his trial, seven of nine eyewitnesses have recanted their original statements, yet federal law prevents these new eyewitness statements from being heard.Troy's execution had been scheduled for September 23rd, 2008. On September 12, 2008 he was denied clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Two hours before he was to be killed he received stay from the U.S. Supreme Court pending its decision as to whether it would hear his appeal. On October 14, 2008, the Court denied his request for relief so that his evidence of innocence could be heard in a legal proceeding. Just one day later, Troy Davis' execution was set for October 27 at 7pm EST. On October 24, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay pending further examination and possible acceptance of a new appeal. On April 16, by a 2-1 vote the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Troy's appeal but issued a 30 stay to allow time for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tuesday, May 19th is Troy Anthony Davis Global Day of Action, an event sponsored by Amnesty International and endorsed by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Take action for Troy Davis
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Much to my surprise, as I walked in the door of TCASK this morning, Joyce House was calling on our phone. “We have good news today,” she said. “Paul’s been exonterated! We talked for a moment of the relief and joy that the House family is feeling today after 23 years of frustration and fighting for Paul’s life.
After what has seemed like months or years of testing of the DNA evidence preserved from the 1985 rape and murder of Carolyn Muncey, District Attorney Paul Phillips finally requested for the murder charges held against Paul House to be dropped. Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood accepted such request and now, after 22 years on death row, Paul House is free.
Paul House joins the ranks of over 130 men who have been released from death row after evidence of their wrongful convictions have emerged (often DNA evidence). This long battle over the guilt or innocence of Paul is a perfect example of the millions of dollars that are fueled into our death penalty system, often with a final result being the reversal of sentencing and also the risk of condemning and killing an innocent man.
We rejoice with the House family as they feel some relief from this long struggle but also acknowledge and share our greivance with the Muncey family as their loved one's case now has become unsolved.
Check out some of the news coverage on this story:
Tennessean Article: State drops charge against former Death Row inmate Paul House
Knox News Article: Prosecutor drops murder charges against ex-death-row inmate House
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Though the bill did not pass, with a vote of 17-18 in favor of the legislation, yet another state demonstrates that public confidence and support of the death penalty is faltering. Citizens are becoming more educated about the failure of the death penalty as a public policy and lawmakers are listening. The death penalty is often hailed as serving victims and their families, but with precious resources spent on pursuing the death penalty, at least 1,400 victims of murder in Colorado have yet to have their cases solved. What about those victims and their families?
Kudos to all in Colorado whose organizing efforts catapulted that state's movement towards abolition into the national spotlight and who are now poised for success in the next legislative session.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Kissinger informed the court that every additional piece of evidence tested for DNA in preparation for this new trial, at the taxpayer's expense, has not matched House and only bolstered his claims of innocence.
Judge Gilbert Merritt pushed the state as to whether or not it would ensure that this trial happen in June and could not get a straight answer. The Judge went on to state that there appeared to be "pure stubbornness and vindictiveness on the part of the state" in its unrelenting pursuit of House given that the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that if the new evidence had been presented at the time of his trial, no reasonable juror would have convicted him.
The panel has taken the case under consideration and did not indicate when it would rule.
The House case is one more example of the state's inability to admit an error. Instead, untold resources are being wasted on this pursuit of House who already spent 22 years on Tennessee's death row and who currently is confined to a wheelchair with aggressive multiple sclerosis.
Read more here.