May 2014 Issue 61

Articles in this Issue:

From Texas death row: Two cases of injustice

By: Lily Hughes

The state of Texas maintains the most active execution chamber in the nation, amid questionable practices and a host of controversial executions.

Texas has executed seven people already this year as of May 2014. The state has put at least 515 people to death since executions were reinstated in 1982, far more than any other state.

Over the last 15 years, there have been scandals at DNA labs, and revelations of judges and lawyers sleeping through portions of capital cases. Meanwhile, clear evidence of racial bias in sentencing, a lack of funding for indigent defendants and an assembly line approach to executions continue to plague the Texas system.

Despite this, the courts here are known to rubber-stamp death penalty convictions with little scrutiny. The worst offender is the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court in Texas.

Flowers grow in gardens,not in hard places

Ray Jasper wrote this letter a few days before he was executed in Texas on March 31, 2014. Ray was convicted under Texas’ Law of Parties, which allows death sentences to be imposed even if the defendant isn’t accused of killing someone outright. Ray was 19 years old when he was went to death row for participating in the 1998 robbery and murder of David Alejandro.

Below are excerpts from Ray’s letter—the complete version can be viewed at’s “Postcards From the Edge”.

Why I’m a monthly sustainer

Interview with Jeannine Scott

By: Randi Jones Hensley

This program makes it easy for everyone to help support the fight to abolish the death penalty, no matter where you are or how limited your time is. Once a month, funds are automatically taken out of your account or charged to your credit card, and donated to the CEDP. These funds are used for publishing the New Abolitionist, taking prisoner phone calls, putting on national CEDP tours, sending out mailings and sustaining the work at our national office.

To join this important program, visit our website at or contact Lily Hughes at You can donate as little as $5 a month, more if you are able.

To all of our sustainers, we thank each and every one of you for helping the CEDP do what it does every day.

Some hope for juvenile lifers

By: Marlene Martin

In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that children under the age of 18 can no longer be sentenced to mandatory life without the possibility of parole. Unfortunately the court did not ban the sentence outright, as it should have, leaving the United States with the macabre distinction of being the only country in the world to allow children to be sentenced to life without parole.

Mark Clements was 16 when he went to prison on a life without parole sentence. He spent 28 years wrongfully incarcerated. He makes this point,“ If the government honestly cared about change, they would prohibit this sentence and implement a plan that can restore kids back to society, rather than lock them up and throw away the key.”

Farewell to a fighter and a teacher

By: Marlene Martin

Per Darby's wishes, the funeral will be at Noble Funeral Home at 8158 South Exchange Ave. in Chicago,60617. Visitation will be on Monday, November 17th from 4-8 p.m.. The funeral will be on Tuesday, November 18, at 10:30 a.m., with a wake beginning a half hour before.

There will be a procession following the funeral to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, where Darby will be buried.