April 2001 Issue 19

Articles in this Issue:

Stop All Executions!

Maryland Activists Push For A Moratorium

Marching against the death penalty in Maryland
By: John Mayer and John Coursey

The fight for a moratorium in Maryland has taken an important step forward.

At the end of March, the state House of Delegates -- by a vote of 82 to 54 -- passed a bill that calls for a halt on all executions for two years. The solid margin of victory shows how opposition to executions in Maryland has grown.

Earl Washington Jr. Wins His Freedom

Virginia Forced To Admit His Innocence After Years On Death Row

Earl Washington Jr.
By: Virginia Harabin

After 18 years in Virginia prisons -- nine and a half of those years on death row -- Earl Washington Jr. is free at last.

Earl’s victory against one of the nation’s biggest death penalty states made national news because it marks still another example of how brutally the odds have been stacked against people facing the death penalty.

Supreme Court Will Hear Case On Executing The Mentally Retarded

In another sign that the growing opposition to the death penalty is having an effect, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments in a case that challenges the constitutionality of executing the mentally handicapped.

In late March, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Ernest McCarver, a North Carolina man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1987. McCarver has an IQ of 67. In announcing their verdict, the jury in his original trial determined that McCarver functioned "intellectually as a 10- or 12-year-old" but that he should be put to death anyway.

Massachusetts Rejects Death Penalty Again!

Cellucci Proposal Loses For Third Time In Five Years

Amnesty International member Jenny Veninga and another protester demonstrating outside the state house in Boston.
By: Bill Keach and Mary Rogers

"That’s a pretty big margin." This is what Gov. Paul Cellucci had to say to reporters on March 12 immediately after the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 94-60 to reject a bill to reinstate the death penalty.

The margin surprised both opponents and supporters of the bill. Opponents of the death penalty said before the vote that they expected the bill to be defeated, and supporters like Cellucci acknowledged that they had little chance of success in this legislative session. Still, they were stunned by the scale of their defeat.

Highlights Of The Struggle

Reports From Campaign Chapters Around The Country

From left to right are Robin Hobley-Milan, Gricelda Ceja, Ronald Jones, Bill Ryan, Costella Cannon and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr

CHICAGO -- By David Gardner

On January 31, about 600 people packed into the United Church of Hyde Park for an indoor rally to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Illinois moratorium on executions.

Campaign member Greta Holmes, who emceed the event, called on the crowd to get up on their feet. "This is what a grassroots movement looks like," she said pointing at the standing audience. Holmes then introduced a panel of speakers who made the case for all-out abolition.

Meet The Death Row Ten: Andrew Maxwel

"The More Noise You Make, The Better"

By: Greta Holmes

The Death Row 10 are prisoners on Illinois’ death row who were beaten and tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives. In 1993, Burge was forced into taking early retirement, but Burge and his cronies were never charged. Burge now spends his time fishing on his boat in Florida!

In the summer of 1998, the Death Row 10 decided to become a group and asked the Campaign to End the Death Penalty to help them organize.

Fighting For His Freedom

New Evidence In Madison Hobley’s Case Could Set Him Free

Madison Hobley
By: Susan Dwyer

"I’m not afraid of dying," Death Row 10 member Madison Hobley told Channel 5 investigative reportor Dave Savini in a recent televised report. "I’m afraid of dying without people knowing the truth."

After 14 years in prison, 10 of them on death row, Madison’s case is finally getting attention. Madison Hobley was convicted and sentenced to death for a 1987 arson that killed seven people, including his wife and child.

Spirited Fighter Who Made A Difference

By: Alice Kim

On March 1, the Chicago abolitionist community lost a first-rate attorney and anti-death penalty activist.

Richard Cunningham was stabbed to death by his 26-year-old son, Jesse, who is schizophrenic. Even more tragically, his son, who has been battling his illness for years, has been charged with first-degree murder. With his last words, Cunningham asked the doctor to call a colleague to "make sure [Jesse] has the best representation he could have."

"Being their voice to expose injustice"

Exonerated And Freed After Six Years On Death Row

Last year, William Nieves became the 89th person since 1973 to be found innocent and freed from death row.

At last November’s Committing to Conscience conference in San Francisco, he talked to Alice Kim about his ordeal with the criminal justice system.

What is the story of your conviction?

Exploiting A Tragedy

Death Penalty Supporters Use The Mcveigh Case

By: Marlene Martin

"If not McVeigh, who? If not now, when?" read the cover headline of Newsweek magazine after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that took the lives of 168 people.

Activists Make Texas Lawmakers Face Facts

By: Mike DeBrauw

Opposition to the death penalty is spreading everywhere -- even in Texas, the execution capital of the world.

Last year, Texas -- under orders from the executioner-in-chief, George W. Bush -- put 40 people to death, more than any state has in a single year in the entire history of the country.

Join The Campaign’s Pen Pal Program

Death row inmates interested in requesting a pen pal should mail their request to the Campaign national office, along with a brief description of your interests to help us match you with a pen pal on the outside.

Greetings Fellow Abolitionists,

My name is Daniela Dwyer-Grove, and I am the new coordinator for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty’s nationwide pen pal program. I’m writing to encourage all of you to sign up for a pen pal on death row.

Maryland Death Row Inmates

The Time To Speak Is Now

Among the people of conscience, the debate of the use of state-sanctioned murder as a means of societal control remains a passionate one on both sides of the issue. Given the enormity of the question and the finality of the punishment, vigorous but meaningful debate is necessary as it relates to the use of death as a punishment.

The time to speak up is when you recognize that what you see is wrong.

Thanks For Your Hard Work

Hello, I just received my January newsletter. Thank you very much for sending it to me. Would you please update my old address?

Thank you very much for your hard work and support. It is greatly appreciated by everybody in the condemned unit, and I share my newsletter with every one of them.

Ray Burgess, B65086
P.O. Box 711
Menard, IL 62259

"Mentally, The Cuffs Are Still Off"

This past New Year’s Eve, Rev. Jesse Jackson, several Death Row 10 moms and members of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty visited members of the Death Row 10 at Pontiac Correctional Center in Illinois.

This was the first time Death Row 10 members had been allowed into the visiting room without being handcuffed or shackled at the ankles.

Well, where do I start? I want to describe the post-visit atmosphere. First things first, thank you, thank you, thank you -- from me to you!