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ISSUE 3 • VOLUME 2 • APRIL 24, 2012 Please click here to view this e-mail as a web page.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty endorses this year's theme: "Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim," which has a special urgency in light of the evidence of continued disparities in services and support to victims based on race, economic status, and attitudes toward capital punishment.
We encourage all advocates for capital punishment and criminal justice reform to use this week to consider how we might work together to improve services and support and greater equity among victims through our organizations and individual work.
Also, please click here to visit the web page of the National Center for Victims of Crime, where you can learn more about the needs of crime victims. You will also find resources to help crime victims everywhere know about, understand, and access crime victims' rights and the resources and services available to them.
Governor Dannell P. Malloy has pledged to sign LCO 3121/SB 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, and he is expected to do so this week. When that happens, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will be sure to let you know. Then, Connecticut will become the 17th and the 5th state in as many years, to have abandoned the death penalty!
Meanwhile, repeal campaigning continues across the country and there's a lot that can be replicated from the Connecticut and other victorious campaigns. Robert Nave has been at the heart of Connecticut's efforts for well over a decade. Read his blog post about the role that murder victim family members played in the campaign, and how Catholics are having a large inpact on the work of our movement, here.
Momentum to stop executions nationwide just keeps building. The latest indicator? Yesterday's certification that the 800,000+ signatures gathered to put replacing the death penalty onto the November ballot were way more than was needed to meet the requirements.
April 22nd marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to recognize McCleskey’s proof of discrimination. We wrote about this in last week's Abolition Times, and were thrilled at the juxtaposition of the McCleskey anniversary with Friday's ruling in North Carolina, which we explain here.
We mark the anniversary of McCleskey v. Kemp to remind ourselves - and you - that addressing racial bias in the administration of capital punishment is still unfinished business. The North Carolina Racial Justice Act is an achievement that must be celebrated and replicated across the country, and federally.
To raise more awareness about this aspect of our work, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty partnered with a number of other organizations to highlight the impact of McCleskey over the past week. Please visit and share http://mccleskeyvkemp.com/.
Also, the ACLU created a special series of daily posts on its "Blog of Rights," which wrapped up yesterday with a reflection by National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty executive director, Diann Rust-Tierney.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty acknowledges in particular the extraordinary leadership of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who was instrumental in not only achieving the passage of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act but also in assuring that the measure was not repealed in the last legislative session. Reverend Barber, the NAACP and the members of the Legislative Black Caucus raised the level of the moral debate and the legislature and the governor answered. We thank them for holding North Carolina to a higher level of accountability with regard to racial bias in the administration of the death penalty—they have set a high bar for fairness that we must now insist on in every state.
Thirty-five years ago, the Supreme Court upheld one of the country’s most controversial practices — capital punishment. Since then, nearly 1,300 Americans have been executed by the state. In the second edition of McKinney & Associates’ eBook series, The Death Penalty Failed Experiment: From Gary Graham to Troy Davis in Context, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director Diann Rust-Tierney passionately argues that race, wealth and geography play a greater role in determining who faces capital punishment than the crime itself.
“How do you administer the most severe punishment imaginable in a manner that is accurate, free from bias and demonstrably fair?” writes Rust-Tierney. “Until we are all seen and treated as equal, we cannot afford to keep capital punishment.”Click Here to download this free book!
The latest edition of Lifelines, the newsletter supporters of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty receive in the postal mail, is now available on our website, here. This edition features a focus on the 35th anniversary year of the National Coalition, a profile of movement leaders including Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin who now leads California's Death Penalty Focus, and much more!
Former Texas death row prisoner Kerry Max Cook is asking people to help him win a full pardon by signing this petition. Despite an appellate court ruling throwing out his second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than serving justice. Unwilling to drop the charges on the eve of his fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. "By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me," says Cook. "I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free...." Read more and take action here.
Join Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty at the Fifth Annual MaryRuth Weir Memorial Dinner and Second Silent Auction, May 17 at 6 pm EDT in Atlanta. Details are here.
NCADP Affiliates: Please be sure to send your event details or coalition news to email@example.com for inclusion in future editions of Abolition Times.
Abolition Times is mailed to members and supporters of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Your input is an important part of its content. Share your success stories and lessons learned with us so we can share them with all Abolitionists.