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Showing posts from August, 2007

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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Florida Doctors Wear "Moon Suits" to Hide Participation in Lethal Injections

In Florida, doctors hired to monitor and participate in lethal injection executions wear purple "moon suits" and goggles to conceal their identities from witnesses and circumvent an American Medical Association (AMA) code that forbids participation in executions, according to the Associated Press.

Though Florida and other states say the participation of medical personnel ensures "a dignified and humane death" for those facing execution, the AMA, the American Nurses Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Florida Medical Association all disagree. "We are a profession dedicated to healing. Participation in an execution is an image of a physician with a dark hood. . . . It is part of the role of a physician, helping people, preserving life and maintaining the trust and respect of the people we serve. We do not feel killing people is appropriate in that context," said Dr. Mark Levine, chairman of the AMA's Council of Ethical and Jud…

Board's ruling not seen as shift in favor of killers

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles' role in saving a San Antonio killer from execution Thursday may have delighted death penalty opponents, but legal experts said the panel's recommendation of mercy does not portend a policy of sympathy for capital killers.

The board's 6-1 recommendation that Kenneth Foster's death sentence be commuted to life in prison was only the fifth time in more than a dozen years that the board has acted in favor of a killer.

Thursday's action also marked the fourth time in that period in which a governor accepted the board's recommendation of a life sentence.

Gov. Rick Perry made the move about seven hours before Foster's scheduled execution and explained that his concern centered on the fact that Foster, who drove the getaway car, and the gunman were tried together.

While Texas' position as the nation's busiest death penalty state remains secure, Thursdays action may lead to greater discretion in the filing of capital c…

Petition to abolish the death penalty

We the people, revoke the governments power to kill people in the name of justice.

The death penalty does not bring closure for the victims' families. Instead it creates more victims.The death penalty is a violation of human rights. It is torture that inflicts unbearable emotional pain and suffering on the condemned person and those that love them.

The emotional pain and suffering, continues for the life of the condemned family.

All governments currently engaging in any punishment that causes death are committing human rights violations.

By signing this petition, I recognize any government currently engaging in any punishment that causes death, in violation of Human Rights.

Click here to sign the petition

Perry Commutes Death Sentence

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Eugene Foster of San Antonio to life imprisonment after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP) recommended such action.

On May 6, 1997, Foster was sentenced to death for his role in the 1996 capital murder of Michael LaHood. Foster sought to have his death sentence commuted to a life sentence arguing that he did not shoot the victim, but merely drove the car in which that the actual killer was riding. In addition, Foster was tried along side the actual killer, Maurecio Brown, and the jury that convicted Foster also considered punishment for both him and his co-defendant in the same proceeding.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Gov. Perry said. "I am concerned about Texas law that allows capi…

Gov. Perry commutes death row inmate's sentence

AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday commuted death row inmate Kenneth Foster’s sentence to life, following a 6-1 recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster’s sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Gov. Perry said. “I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the legislature should examine.”

Mr. Foster was the getaway driver in a 1996 armed robbery spree that ended in the murder of a 25-year-old San Antonio man. He contends he had no knowledge a murder was going to occur, and he was not the trigger man. But he was convicted, in the same courtroom as the shooter, under the state’s “law of parties,” which authorizes capital punishment for accomplices who either intended to kill or "should h…

Board recommends condemned man be spared

AUSTIN -- The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended this morning that Gov. Rick Perry commute death row inmate Kenneth Foster’s sentence to life – leaving the governor just 7 hours to determine Mr. Foster’s fate.
“I’m trying to get him to make the decision just as fast as possible,” Keith Hampton, Mr. Foster’s attorney, said from the governor’s office. “I’m meeting with attorneys here to tell them the ups and downs and find out where they’re at.”
The execution by lethal injection is scheduled for 6 p.m. The governor’s office had no immediate comment the board’s vote. Mr. Perry does not have to follow the board’s recommendation, and he has rarely intervened in death penalty cases as governor.
Mr. Foster was the getaway driver in a 1996 armed robbery spree that ended in the murder of a 25-year-old San Antonio man. He contends he had no knowledge a murder was going to occur, and he was not the trigger man. But he was convicted under the state’s “law of parties,” which authorizes ca…

Not the Killer, but Still Facing a Date With the Executioner

HOUSTON, Aug. 29 — Kenneth Foster has a date on Thursday with the executioner’s needle. Not for killing anyone himself, but for what he was doing — and might have been thinking — the night in 1996 when he was 19 and a sidekick gunned down a San Antonio law student.

Ensnared in a Texas law that makes accomplices subject to the death penalty, Mr. Foster, 30, is to become the third death row inmate this week, and the 403rd since capital punishment resumed in Texas in 1982, to give his life for a life taken.

But unlike most others condemned to death in this state, Mr. Foster, a former gang member and aspiring musician and now a prison poet from San Antonio, is not a murderer in the usual sense. He was convicted and sentenced to die for abetting a killing — 80 feet away — that he might, or might not, have had reason to anticipate.

The gunman is dead, executed last year. Two accomplices are serving life terms.
Now, failing a last-minute reprieve, Mr. Foster, the group’s driver in a robbery spre…

Report on status of Foster case

The update on Kenneth Foster is that the Board of Pardons and Paroles was working on John Amador's case all afternoon and didn't get to Kenneth's case. Johnny was just executed in Huntsville. The Foster family was with the Amador family in Huntsville for the execution. Both families are from San Antonio and Johnny and Kenneth both began a hunger strike last week. The Fosters had an eight hour visit with Kenneth today. Tomorrow they will have 4 hours.
So tomorrow the Board will rule on Kenneth's case. I am not holding my breath for them to do the right thing as they almost never do. But I still think we should call them all morning until they rule. The number to call is:

Board-- 1-512-406-5852
Gov-- 1-512-463-2000

It is so hard to have execution after execution in Texas while we know that this damn system will ultimately be done away with. But how many people do we have to lose to this racist assembly line to death sponsored by the state of Texas? I encourage everyone to tu…

Another stain on justice, Texas style

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gov. Rick Perry can spare a life, uphold justice and bring a semblance of honor to Texas this week, if only he will seize the opportunity.

Perry has the power to stop the execution of death row inmate Kenneth Foster, scheduled to die Thursday for a crime everyone acknowledges that he did not commit. The state's Board of Pardons and Paroles also can halt the execution.

Foster, 30, is not the sweetheart anti-death penalty activists insist he is. He was a thug, armed robber and drug dealer in San Antonio. But he did not commit the murder that put him on death row.

Foster was driving the car with three criminal friends on a robbery spree the night Michael LaHood, 25, was shot and killed in 1996. One of Foster's passengers, Mauriceo Brown, shot LaHood in the face during an attempted robbery. Brown was executed for that crime last year.
Foster was convicted under Texas' Law of Parties statute that considers those who had a major role in a capital crime as g…

Kenneth Foster Execution a 'New Low for Texas' and a 'Shocking Perversion of the Law,' Says Amnesty International

(Washington, D.C.) -- Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today condemned the scheduled August 30 execution of Kenneth Foster, who was convicted of a murder he did not commit and has consistently denied knowing would occur. The human rights organization has mobilized its international membership to urge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to grant clemency.

Foster was sentenced to death in 1997 for the murder of Michael LaHood under Texas' controversial "law of parties." This law abolishes the distinction between principal actor and accomplice in a crime and allows both to be held equally culpable.

"This is a new low for Texas," said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA. "Texas has the most far-reaching 'law of parties' in this country, further marking it as the death penalty capital of the United States. In essence, Kenneth Foster has been sentenced to death for leaving his crystal ball at home. There is no concrete eviden…

Texas: former high school honors student executed

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A former high school honors student convicted of killing one of four people gunned down at an East Texas bar 13 years ago was executed late Tuesday night.
DaRoyce Mosley, 32, was the 22nd inmate executed in Texas this year.

Mr. Mosley didn't deny walking into the Kilgore bar intending to rob the place, but insisted his uncle who accompanied him was responsible for the slayings 13 years ago. The uncle, Ray Don Mosley, 44, took a plea bargain and is serving life in prison.

Mr. Mosley's execution was delayed for several hours while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed his request for a stay. The court rejected the request about 10:30 p.m.

Source: The Associated Press

Executing this man is bloodlust, not justice

You might have missed the story. After all, the football season is starting, and we had all the excitement of a tax-free weekend.

But Texas is about to execute an innocent man, that is, a man who killed no one, who did not want to kill anyone, who did not help kill anyone.

On these points, there is unanimous agreement between all the parties involved. How could this happen in Texas?

Kenneth Foster is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday for a murder committed by Mauriceo Brown, a friend of Foster who was executed for murder last year.

The incident in question is the murder of Michael LaHood. In an altercation, Brown pulled a gun and shot LaHood. Brown testified that LaHood had drawn a gun on him first. Whatever happened, it is undisputed that Foster sat in the car 80 feet away from the shooting. There is no evidence that Foster had felonious intent. When he heard the shot, he started to drive off before Brown got back in the car, a fact kept from the jury.

Part of what…

Suspend the United States' and Japan's Observers Status at the European Council

We, the undersigned, as citizens of the world opposed to the death penalty, demand that the United States and Japan be suspended as observers at the European Council.

On August 22, 2007, Texas carried out its 400th execution in 25 years and Japan carried out 3 executions on the same day. While the European Union has always voiced a strong opposition to capital punishment, it has, however, never moved beyond statements of intention.

This urgent situation calls for action as statements do not and will not change this dramatic state of affairs. In a recent statement, you declared: "Despite the potential unpopularity of the measure, capital punishment must be totally removed in all countries which strive to uphold democracy, the rule of law and human rights", and in 2001 during the first International Congress against the Death Penalty, which took place in Strasbourg, representatives of all European Union states signed a resolution calling for universal abolition. Since then we, a…

Petition from Sherrie Stone: Help save her father's life!

I have a father on death row in Alabama. Most of you never knew this about me. He has been there for 25 years for a crime he did not commit. He is scheduled to be executed next month 09-27-2007. His web site is Thomas Arthur Fight For Life.

There is history about his case there and links to legal documents. What I am asking of you is to sign the petition that is on the web site. I am asking the Governor of Alabama to stay the execution until we can have the crime scene evidence DNA tested. There is actual crime scene evidence that was collected and still exists that the State of Alabama refuses to DNA test. If you look at the site and do not want to sign the petition, I will truly understand. If you do sign and want to e-mail the Governor, I will appreciate it with all my heart. I will be on some national news show in the coming weeks in an effort to change some laws in Alabama, and to plead with Governor Riley in Alabama to stay the execution until we can DNA test the crime scene evid…

Shujaa Graham speaking on behalf of TX Death Row Inmate Kenneth Foster

Shujaa Graham, here speaking on behalf of TX Death Row Inmate Kenneth Foster, July 2007, spent three years on California’s death row for a crime he did not commit. Shujaa was framed for the murder of a prison guard because he was active in fighting for prisoners' rights. It took four trials and the work of dedicated high school students until Shujaa was found not guilty. Source : National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

A Cruel and Unusual Excuse: Texas Evades EU Call to Conscience

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In order to stop the killing at Texas death row, the European Union on Tuesday, through the office of its Presidency, asked the Governor of Texas to declare a death-penalty moratorium. But the Governor's reply was quick and flippant. He did nothing to stop the 400th killing Wednesday evening, and it is becoming horribly apparent that he will do nothing to intervene in the 3 executions scheduled for next week -- not even for Kenneth Foster who never killed anyone.

"We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights," argued the EU. "We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane. There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime and the irreversibility of the punishment means that miscarriages of justice - which are inevitable in all legal systems - cannot be redressed. Consequently, the death pe…

Rough justice: 80 lashes for 'immoral' Iranian who abused alcohol and had sex

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His face covered by a balaclava, an official brandishing a cane repeatedly lashes the back of a man found guilty of breaking Iran's morality laws.

Two police officers hold the legs of 25-year-old Saeed Ghanbari and another his arms to ensure there is no escape from the punishment of 80 lashes handed down by a religious court.

Traffic was brought to a halt in Qazvin, 90 miles west of the capital Tehran, as more than 1,000 men gathered behind barricades to watch the public flogging.

Some took pictures on mobile telephones, others climbed traffic lights for a better vantage point as Ghanbari was marched to the centre of the square under the watch of blue-uniformed guards carrying machine guns.

A four foot long metal bench was taken from a police van and the convicted man was made to lie on it on his stomach, his fawn checked shirt pulled-up to his shoulders to expose his back and waist.

One police officer held his hands together beneath the bench, two others gripped his legs to ensu…

Texans are doing just fine governing Texas

"230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.”

-- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

Texas carries out 400th execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Johnny Ray Conner was executed Wednesday evening for the slaying of a Houston convenience store clerk during a failed robbery nine years ago.

The execution was the 400th in the nation's most active death penalty state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Texas resumed executions six years later.

Mr. Conner asked for forgiveness repeatedly and expressed love to his family and his victim's family, who watched him through windows in the death chamber.

"This is destiny. This is life. This is something Allah wants me to do," he said. "What is happening to me is unjust and the system is broken."

He was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow.
Mr. Conner, 32, was the 21st inmate put to death this year in Texas. Three more are scheduled to die next week.

Earlier Wednesday, his lawyers lost an appeal to the Supreme Court to stop the execution. In arguments r…

Kenneth E. Foster Jr. and John Joe Amador: "a protest of passive non-participation in our executions"

AUGUST 22, 2007 DIRECTIVE

In the name of Human Rights; all religious doctrines of Peace, Love and Forgiveness; and in the vision of reform and atonement, on the above said date myself (Kenneth E. Foster Jr.) and John Joe Amador have committed to a protest of passive non-participation in our executions. Together we have decided to go on a spiritual missin to oppose our systematic executions in the hopes to open the eyes of people that think this horrific process is ok.

Starting on the 22nd we will engage in passive non-participation in this process in the same fashion that civil rights fighters stood down the cruel and inhumane treatments of their time.

We are here to say that we do not condone violence and will not promote it. We recognize that violence will not solve our problems, just like executions do not help our society. We are committed to peace and grassroots activism. We are not doing this for ourselves, but for YOU, the people, to demonstrate to you that we do not agree with th…

Cruel and Unusual

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Flood calls to Gov. Rick Perry's Office and The Parole Board!

Reminder from: lampofhope Yahoo! Group

Title: Flood calls to Gov. Rick Perry's Office and The Parole Board!

Date: Tuesday August 14, 2007

Time: All Day

Repeats: This event repeats every Tuesday and Thursday until Friday August 31, 2007.

Location: Gov. Rick Perry's Office and The Parole Board Office

Street: Send faxes to 512-463-1849 and 512-463-8120

City State Zip: Austin/TX/78701

Phone: 800-252-9600 (TX callers) or 512-463-1782 (Austin and out of State) and 512-463-1679

Notes: Help Stop The Execution of Kenneth Foster

What you can do?

Make phone/fax calls to Gov. Rick Perry's Office: Call 800-252-9600 (Texas callers) or 512-463-1782 (Austin and out of state), and send faxes to 512-463-1849. Contact the Texas Board of Pardons & Paroles and tell them to grant Kenneth Foster clemency:

Price Daniel, Sr. Building209 West 14th Street, Suite 500Austin, Texas 78701

OR: P.O. Box 13401, Austin, Texas 78711-3401
Phone: (512) 463-1679
Fax: (512) 463-8120

Let Gov. Perry and the Parole Board know …

Gay Nigerians face Sharia death

Eighteen men have been remanded in prison following their arrest for alleged sodomy in northern Nigeria, the state-owned news agency, Nan, reports.

The men were arrested in a hotel in north-eastern Bauchi State, which is governed by the Islamic Sharia law. The Sharia punishment for sodomy is death by stoning. The men, reportedly wearing women's clothes, are said to have gone to Bauchi town from neighbouring states to celebrate a "gay wedding". Sharia judge Malam Tanimu ordered that the 18 be remanded in prison after they were arraigned before him on Wednesday.

Prosecuting police officer Tadius Boboi said the men's actions had contravened Sharia law, adopted in Bauchi and a dozen other states in Muslim northern Nigeria in 2000. More than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning and for sexual offences ranging from adultery and homosexuality. But none of these death sentences have actually been carried out as they were either thrown out on appeal …

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Denies Kenneth's Petition

The Save Kenneth Foster Campaign has officially entered emergency mode with the announcement that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied Kenneth's final appeal.

This outrageous decision shows yet again howbackward the Texas injustice system truly is. Now it is up to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to grant Kenneth clemency.

It is also a call to all of us to push harder than ever to SAVE KENNETH FOSTER!!!!

The State of Texas intends to execute Kenneth Foster on August 30, despite the fact that he did not murder anyone. Unlike any other state in this country, Texas utilizes a unique statute called the Law of Parties which allows the State to subject a person to death even though he did not kill, intend to kill, help or encourage anyone to do so.

Meanwhile, the Save Kenneth Foster, Jr. Campaign is definitely picking upsteam. We held a highly successful rally on June 21st in downtown Austin. The rally drew over 200 people who marched and heard from fantast…

Letter from Kenneth Foster to Governor Perry

Kenneth E. Foster, Jr.
#999232
Polunsky Unit (Death Row)
3872 FM 350
SouthLivingston, TX 77351

Texas Governor Rick Perry
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711


Dear Governor Perry,

Unaware of what I could possibly say that could make a difference, I decided to grasp this opportunity to write to you from my heart, because I believe that God declares for us to live each day to the fullest. While I know that you will be bombarded with letters from people, spoken to by legal representatives and addressed by the media, this is written on a personal basis.

I know that you will have detailed information about my case and the Law of Parties. However, please never forget that although I did not protest when Mauriceo Brown wanted to commit robberies, later I recognized that this was wrong to go along with, and out of respect for my grandfather, I said I had to stop. After I said I wanted to go home, Mauriceo Brown got out of the car to talk to Mary Patrick, and got into an argument with Michael LaHood, which en…

U.S.: 1000th execution

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Upcoming Execution Raises Questions of Whether Texas' Law Goes Too Far

On August 30, Texas has scheduled the execution of Kenneth Foster Jr., despite the fact that all parties agree that Foster did not personally kill anyone.

Foster was sentenced to death under the Texas Law of Parties that permits a person involved in a crime to be held accountable for the actions committed by someone else. In this case, Texas maintains that Foster deserves the death penalty because he "should have anticipated" that a passenger in his vehicle would exit the car with a weapon and kill someone. "[Foster] was a victim of a statute that was never intended by its authors to be used this way," said Foster's defense attorney, Keith Hampton. "I talked to the authors, and they intended [the statute] to be used in conspiracy cases."

Foster was just 19-years-old when Mauriceo Brown, a passenger in the car Foster was driving, shot Michael LaHood in San Antonio more than a decade ago. New testimony shows that Foster did not play a major role in the cr…