The article about Larry Griffin, innocent but still executed in 1995, is very compelling. There are many people across this nation who search for information to prove that this country has indeed executed innocent people. No surprise that the prosecutor "still believes he is guilty" like that statement is supposed to belie the facts of Griffin's case. What comes to mind is the excellent "Win at all Costs" series done by the post-gazette that I hope is never forgotten http://www.post-gazette.com/win/
Let us hope that all these things come out at the march on Washington DC August 12-13, 2005. Thank you so much for all your hard work and the work of CUADP members and to all death penalty activists nationwide who work to abolish the insanity.
Everyone nationwide needs to take a look at and oppose the <<"Streamlined Procedures Act" (Senate Bill 1088 / House Bill 3035), which will make it far more likely that we will again execute [and keep imprisoned] the innocent. This is unacceptable. Stop this bill!">>. As it is written the US Constitution mandates that, "The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended...", and suspending this sacred writ is exactly what Senate Bill 1008 / House Bill 3035 intends to do. For our own individual safety and the safety of all society, We collectively cannot let this happen.
Man, when I read the quote in the Washington Post below,
my blood began to boil. Do we - The People - not even care if cases
of innocence are kept out of the courts? Do we not even want to protect
ourselves from such obscene ideas by this government? Can we not
see where all of this is heading for the members of the American society
as a whole?
PRISON REFORM MARCH IN DC
PATRICK SWINEY - Innocent in Prison
Why are you going to the march in DC?
T-Shirts in support of the DC march
----- Original Message -----
Sent to the Recipients of CUADPUpdate... and
a few others
VERY IMPORTANT ABOLITIONIST NEWS AND ACTION REQUESTS
#1 - Prosecutors admit that wrong man was executed
#2 - STOP THIS BILL - CALL CONGRESS NOW!
#1 - AT LONG LAST - PROOF THAT AN INNOCENT MAN WAS EXECUTED
Today at a news conference at the office of Congressman
William Lacy Clay in St. Louis new evidence was released showing that a
man executed by the state of Missouri was clearly innocent: the only witness
pointing to Griffin recanted long ago, and new witnesses have said unequivocally
that Griffin was not at the scene of the murder. You can find more
in news accounts across the state and nationally. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
reports it at
You can find more about the case at www.moabolition.org and at the Equal Justice USA, www.ejusa.org. See also Death Penalty Information Center, http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/.
According to Professor Sam Gross, of the University of Michigan Law School, director of the investigation, no jurisdiction in the US has ever admitted its mistakes in executing an innocent person. Not only that, this is the first time it has been shown to this degree of certainty that an executed person was in fact innocent. It is a dreadful thing for an innocent person to be executed, but it is good when the mistake can be shown clearly.
This is the time to write letters to editors of newspapers pointing out the lack of fairness and justice that allowed an innocent man to be executed. Make clear the need for a moratorium on the death penalty--and send copies to your state legislators!
and #2 - STOP THIS BILL - CALL CONGRESS NOW!
"The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended..." -- U.S. Constitution Article 1 Sec. 9 CL1 (in part):
"Congress has a novel response to the rash of prisoners over the past few years who have been exonerated of capital crimes after being tried and convicted: keep similar cases out of court. Both chambers of the US Congress are quietly moving a particularly ugly piece of legislation designed to gut the legal means by which prisoners prove their innocence." (Washington Post)
Federal Appeals Process for Death Penalty Cases in Jeopardy
2 bills traveling concurrently through the United States House of Representatives and Senate would effectively remove a major alley of appeal for criminal defendants at the state level. Several of the proposed provisions would present disadvantages for defendants in capital cases.
Critics of the proposed legislation say it would hide some death penalty sentences meted out in the states from scrutiny by federal judges, a move they fear will increase the number of innocent people put to death.
Senate Bill 1088 and House Bill 3035, known as the Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005, would narrow the circumstances under which defendants could appeal to federal courts for relief from flawed decisions made by lower courts.
According to testimony offered by University of Chicago Law Professor Bernard Harcourt at a June House subcommittee hearing on the bill, the legislation proposes "cutting and slashing" federal habeas corpus review of death penalty convictions under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA).
Filing for a writ of habeas corpus is a centuries-old practice lawyers use to challenge to the governments legal authority to keep a person imprisoned. It represents the only means by which federal courts other than the Supreme Court can compel review of state criminal cases in the US, according to Human Rights, a publication of the American Bar Association.
Harcourt termed the Act "radical, jurisdiction-stripping legislation," and noted that one portion of the bill, Section 9, would prohibit federal review of most state death penalty sentences imposed upon indigent defendants who argue they received poor legal representation, so long as the court-appointed counsel system is certified by the US Attorney General. And Section 6 has the potential to block federal review of any alleged sentencing errors under the AEPDA, so long as the error is "harmless," a nearly undefinable standard that would further restrict federal review, Harcourt said.
Both bills are in their respective judiciary committees.
The House version, introduced by Daniel Lungren (R-California) is awaiting
a vote and the Senate version of the bill, introduced by Jon Kyl (R-Arizona),
has yet to be addressed. (source: The News Standard)
The Senate Judiciary Committee is now holding hearings on the "Streamlined Procedures Act" which would sharply reduce access to Federal habeas corpus review of state court decisions, in effect opening the flood gates to execution. Hopefully we'll be hearing soon from DC-based advocacy groups with more detailed background and talking points, but this legislation is in discussion right now. Therefore we must act right now!
#1 - PLEASE CALL OR FAX YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES NOW! Ask them to speak out and vote against this bill (Senate Bill 1088 / House Bill 3035). Find your congressional representatives listed in the blue pages of your local telephone book, or visit http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt?command=congdir and enter your zip code. The most effective action will be to send a fax and/or make a telephone call. If you call, ask to speak to the Legislative Aide working on criminal justice matters. The message is very simple:
"I live in ______, and I am calling to make sure you know that just yesterday (Tuesday, July 12, 2005), prosecutors in Missouri admitted that they have executed an innocent man. I ask you to oppose the "Streamlined Procedures Act" (Senate Bill 1088 / House Bill 3035), which will make it far more likely that we will again execute the innocent. This is unacceptable. Stop this bill!"
Of course, put that in your own words.... After
you call the DC office, repeat the procedure at your rep's local office
in your area.
#2 - If you live outside the United States, please
call the U.S. Embassy in your country, and if you can find it, the office
responsible for U.S. trade relations with your country. If you can
get a live person, ask them to communicate to US policy makers your deep
concern that the "Streamlined Procedures Act" will lead to the execution
of more (innocent) people, and that this is unacceptable. Warn them
that this may lead to a new round of economic boycotts of U.S. goods and
services if the bill passes.
#3 - Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper and call radio talk shows to share your opposition to the "Streamlines Procedures Act."
Thank you. Please act today!
Abraham J. Bonowitz
Citizens United for Alternatives to the
or call 800-973-6548