February 2000 Issue 14

Articles in this Issue:

Lawrence Hayes Wins His Freedom

By: Alex Lesman

The Campaign is also helping Lawrence get back on his feet financially after his ordeal.
Donations may be sent in care of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, P.O. Box 25730, Chicago, IL 60625.

On December 8, 1999, Lawrence Hayes walked out of the Woodbourne prison in upstate New York, a free man for the first time in 19 months. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty activist was supposed to spend five years in jail for a bogus parole violation, but continued protests won his early release.

Illinois Stops Executions

"It's clear that the system is broken."

This is how an aide to Illinois Gov. George Ryan described the death-penalty system in Illinois. On January 31, Ryan said he was stopping all executions in Illinois because the system is "fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare... Until I can be sure with moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate."

There is no time limit on Ryan's action, but it is similar to the proposals for a moratorium on capital punishment that abolitionists have been fighting for.

Critical Year For Mumia

Keep Up The Pressure During Federal Appeals

By: Lee Wengraf

The year 2000 will be the most critical year ever faced by Pennsylvania death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Convicted in a sham trial of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia was sent to death row in 1982. After nearly two decades, Mumia's attorneys now have the opportunity for a hearing in federal district court on crucial evidence that would demonstrate his innocence -- evidence never before heard in any court. But a rejection of this appeal means that Pennsylvania could set an execution date in the coming months.

How Low Will They Stoop?

Prosecutors Scheme To Send Nathson Fields Back To Death Row

By: Nate Goldbaum

Just as Illinois death penalty prisoner Nathson Fields and his supporters have begun to prepare themselves for trial, prosecutors have gone on the attack. Fields was convicted in a gang double-murder 15 years ago and sent to death row by dishonest police investigators and corrupt former judge Thomas Maloney, the first judge ever convicted and sent to jail for accepting bribes in exchange for lower sentences.

Fighting Against The Death Penalty In 2000

We Can Make A Difference!

By: Marlene Martin

The year 2000 is already showing signs of being a highly charged time around the issue of the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, "The number of countries that have stopped implementing the death penalty has grown to an all-time high of 105." But the United States continues to buck the world trend with a vengeance -- by increasing its use of the death penalty.

I'm Not Alone In This Battle

Greetings of peace be unto you and the ever-diligent Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Thank you to the Campaign for your resounding and dedicated support in our struggle for my release and exoneration.

The Struggle Ahead

Record Number Of Executions, But Opposition Grows

By: Alice Kim

In 1999, the United States carried out 98 executions, the highest number since 1976 when the death penalty was reinstated. Texas led the way. With the mandate of its governor, George W. Bush, it killed 35 inmates -- far more than any other state.

But as states across the country engaged in this killing spree, the number of people freed from death row also grew. Last year, a total of eight people were freed and exonerated, the second highest number since 1973.

Benetton Produces "We, On Death Row"

By: Paul D'Amato

A lot of good material has been published in the last several years exposing the injustices of the death penalty.

But a double take is in order when Benetton, one of Italy's leading clothes-makers, turns its advertising machine against capital punishment. In January, Benetton produced a 100-page glossy magazine insert containing pictures and interviews with 25 death row inmates from around the U.S.

The Fight To Save Eugene Colvin-El

"How Can You Execute A Man Without A Fair Trial?"

Eugene Colvin-El is scheduled to be the next person to die in Maryland's death chamber. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing Eugene's final appeal and could make a decision at any time. If the court rejects Eugene's request for a new trial, the state of Maryland could issue a death warrant for as early as March.

Like many on death row, Eugene has never received a fair trial. His lawyer was incompetent, prosecutors illegally withheld important evidence and the jury never heard the true facts in his case.

The Hurricane Exposes Racism And Injustice

By: Susan Fitzgerald

The Hurricane.
Directed by Norman Jewison. Starring Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, John Hannah and Deborah Kara Unger.

Director Norman Jewison's newest film The Hurricane tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a contender for the middleweight boxing championship, who spent nearly 20 years in prison for three murders he didn't commit. The film, which stars Denzel Washington, is an excellent condemnation of the racism and injustice that pervades the criminal justice system in this country.

Meet The Death Row Ten: Stanley Howard

"Without all of you, we only have half a chance"

By: Joan Parkin

The Death Row Ten 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 and now spends his time fishing on his boat in Florida. But Burge and his cronies were never criminally charged.

In the summer of 1998, the Death Row Ten decided to form themselves into a group and asked the Campaign to End the Death Penalty to help them organize.

Stop This Legal Lynching!

Don't Let Bush Execute Gary Graham/Shaka Sankofa!

By: Carl Villarreal

The case of innocent death row inmate Gary Graham (who has changed his name to Shaka Sankofa) is coming to a head in Texas.

Shaka is accused of killing Bobby Lambert in a grocery store in Houston in 1981. There is no physical evidence connecting him to the shooting, and there is only one highly unreliable witness who has identified him. Yet there are multiple eyewitnesses who say Shaka is not the killer, and several alibi witnesses who have passed polygraph tests saying that Shaka was with them at the time.

Justice For Kevin Cooper!

By: Becky Downer

The struggle for justice continues for Kevin Cooper, who has spent 15 years on death row in California.

Sent To Death Row On False Testimony

Hey, I'm a death row prisoner here in Texas. I'm not certain what you guys do! I've been on death row since 1990, and I cannot find any type of help.

I killed a man in self-defense, at his house partying. Then I got this great idea that if I made it look like a burglary, they wouldn't think it was me. I have no idea why. Anyway, the original lawyers I had in my trial did absolutely nothing for me. They had me admit to all the facts but did nothing to form my position of self-defense.

Fighting For Our Dignity And Humanity

My name is Tony Enis, and many of you know me or are familiar with me. I am currently incarcerated on the condemned unit at Pontiac Correctional Center.

I fully understand and appreciate the fact that you are a group whose main objective is the abolition of the death penalty. However, what good is a life if one must exist without some of the most basic tenets of humanity: honor, dignity and common decency? It is in this vein that I wish to speak to you now.

Thanks To Everyone

I was a little down until I received your beautiful Christmas card. I'm writing to thank everyone that works with the Campaign for sending me the card and for thinking about me this time of year. This is the only card I got, so I thank you all very much. Please if anyone is interested in having a pen friend, I'd love to write them. I don't get any mail, and I would love to have someone to write to. I'll end this now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Donnetta Hill 0B4096
P.O. Box 180, Muncy, PA 17756

Mister, Why Did They Have To Kill...?

A Poem

By: Richard Vineski

Mister, why did they have to kill my dog?
He was a good dog, he didn't bother anybody.
Until mean old Mr. Jones came along and kicked him.
And even then he wouldn't bite.

Until old Mr. Jones started kicking him every day when he came by,
And then one day he kicked him extra hard, and kept on kicking him,
and my dog bit him.

Then he called the police, and they came and shot my dog,
'cause they said he's dangerous and bites people.

Mister, why did they have to kill my Dad?
He wasn't a bad man. He worked hard
and loved my Mom and me. But then Mom got sick