March 2013 Issue 58

Articles in this Issue:

Continuing the Fight

A story of friendship and loss from death row

Lily and Justin
By: Rebekah Skelton

Lily Hughes reviewed the items she would be taking with her to the prison. She was allowed to take $10 in coins, her driver’s license and her keys. She placed the items in a clear make-up bag. She dressed conservatively, jeans and a t-shirt. She had been inside a jail before, but she had never been inside a prison. She was nervous.           

Hughes climbed in her car and set off on the three and a half hour drive from Austin to Livingston. When she arrived at the Polunsky Unit, where prisoners on Texas’ death row are housed, she gave the guard her license and the name and inmate number of the man she was there to visit. Justin Fuller, number 999266. She parked her car and walked down a lush, green pathway that led to the complex.          

Kevin Cooper is Innocent on California's Death Row!

A recent book makes a compelling case.

By: Dan Sharber

This is a review of Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper by J. Patrick O'Connor, published in 2012 by Strategic Media Books.

Kevin Cooper is an innocent man on death row in California. And if you have been around the anti-death penalty movement for any amount of time, you most likely know this or have at least heard of Kevin Cooper. Now, thanks to the spellbinding new book, Scapegoat, by J. Patrick O’Connor, many, many more people will hopefully know his story too. 

What We Learned From S.A.F.E. California

By: Kenneth Hartman

In November 2012, California voters defeated a ballot measure that would have abolished the death penalty. Leading up to its defeat, Proposition 34 (known as the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act) was a topic of discussion and debate among criminal justice reform activists. The measure had the potential to take over 700 people off death row in one of the largest death penalty states—yet the "tough on crime" proposals at the heart of the SAFE California Act led a number of activists to turn against it. In this article submitted by Kenneth Hartman, he discusses the reasons he feels the effort failed, as well as the lessons we should learn. Currently, Kenneth is serving a life without parole sentence in California.

What we learned from S.A.F.E. California

By Kenneth Hartman

Another Reason We Oppose the Death Penalty

By: Marlene Martin

One of the earliest brochures our organization produced was titled, “Five Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty.” This short three-fold encapsulated for us the major problems with the death penalty:

1. The death penalty is racist.

2. The death penalty punishes the poor.

3. The death penalty condemns the innocent to die.

4. The death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime.

5. The death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Should Abolitionists Oppose Life Without Parole Sentences?

Interview with David Dow

By: Lily Hughes

David R. Dow is a renowned death penalty appeals attorney based in Houston. Over the course of his career, he has represented more than 100 death row prisoners in state and federal appeals. One of his highest-profile clients was Frances Newton, who was executed by the state of Texas on September 14, 2005, despite compelling evidence of her innocence. She was the first Black woman to be executed in Texas since the Civil War.

 David is a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and Litigation Director at the Texas Defender Service, a nonprofit group of lawyers representing death row prisoners. He also helped found and has directed the Texas Innocence Network, based out of the University of Houston Law School. 

Why I am a monthly sustainer?

By: Jean Terepka

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) stays afloat financially in part through our monthly sustainer program. 

Still speaking out

Interview with Caitlin Adams

Caitlin at the 2012 Annual March to Stop Executions in Austin, Texas
By: Marlene Martin

Three years ago, Caitlin Adams, a retired nurse, decided to move to Bastrop, Texas after her health took a turn for the worse.

She had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, a progressive neuromuscular degenerative disease that has no cure. Today, Caitlin has become progressively weaker--she now has to travel in a wheelchair, and she mostly lets her computer speak for her. Back when she first moved, however, her symptoms were more mild, and she was still able to enjoy one of her favorite things to do--ride her bike.

Catastrophe Justice

Jeffrey Havard
By: Mark Clements

We know just how unfair the criminal justice system can be, but some cases stand out in showing how our entire criminal justice system is broken and how it is a calamity toward the poor.

Take the work of forensic pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne. He worked mainly in Mississippi, performing thousands of autopsies and describing his findings as an expert witness in trials. Hayne worked between 1980 and the late 2000s. According to the New York Times, “For most of that time, Dr. Hayne performed about 1,700 autopsies annually, more than four for every day of the year and nearly seven times the maximum caseload recommended by the National Association of Medical Examiners.”

Hayne has since been barred from performing autopsies in Mississippi.