November 1999 Issue 13

Articles in this Issue:

Justice for Mumia!

We Demand A New Trial Now

Mumia's supporters marched in Philadelphia on October 11.
By: Lucy Herschel and Marlene Martin

The struggle to save Mumia Abu-Jamal is facing a new challenge.

On October 13, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Ridge signed a death warrant for Mumia -- the best known and most outspoken death row prisoner in the country -- for the second time in five years.

Ridge knew full well that Mumia still had the right to federal appeals -- and that his execution would be automatically stayed. But he signed the order anyway, which put Mumia on what Pennsylvania prison officials call "death watch."

Victim Of A Faulty System

Don't Let Maryland Kill Eugene Colvin-El

By: Brandy Baker and Mike Stark

For more information about getting involved in the fight against Maryland's death penalty, contact the Campaign at 301-587-1469 or

Eugene Colvin-El could become the next Maryland death row prisoner executed if the state gets its way. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing Eugene's case, and if they reject his request for a new trial, the state could execute him before the end of the year.

Clinton's Effective Death Penalty Act Faces Supreme Court Challenge

By: Joan Parkin

The murderous Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) faces its first legal challenge in a case that could impact death row inmates nationwide. On October 4, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of Virginia death row inmate Terry Williams and review a provision of the law concerning death row appeals.

Florida's Gruesome Electric Chair

Florida's Electric Chair

"There have been some very uncomfortable and painful things, and these people were crying and screaming while this was going on. It's unfortunate but it happens." So said Fred Leuchter, an expert on executions who was commissioned to fix Florida's damaged electric chair after yet another death row prisoner was essentially tortured to death.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay on all executions in Florida while it decided whether the state's electric chair -- known by its sick nickname of "Old Sparky" -- constituted "cruel and unusual punishment."

Chapters Hold Forums For Mumia Awareness Week Live From Death Row

by Peter Lamphere and Lucy Herschel

On September 22nd, the New York chapters of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty held a meeting called "Live from Death Row: A Forum for Fighting the Death Penalty." The event was held as part of Mumia Awareness Week.

A Cold-Blooded Killer

"Compassionate" Gov. Bush Orders 100 Executions

By: Lily Hughes

On September 10, Texas executed Willis Barnes, the 100th person to be murdered by the state since Gov. George W. Bush started his term in 1995. At a demonstration held that day, 80 people protested against Bush's bloody record on the death penalty. More recently, at a Live From Death Row forum in Austin, the audience of 120 gasped when a speaker pointed out that more than 100 executions had taken place under Bush's watch.

And no wonder. Roughly one-third of all executions since 1976 have happened in Texas, and well more than half of those have taken place in the five years of Bush's term.

The Fight To Save My Husband's Life

Wife Of Death Row Prisoner Nathson Fields Speaks Out

A recent demonstration outside the Cook County Court House for Nathson Fields.
By: Jamilah Fields

I believe the death penalty is pre-meditated murder by the state. It only produces another victim and brings terrible suffering to another family. There are not tears enough for what the death penalty has done to us.

I'm the wife of Nathson Fields, an innocent man sent to death row by an unjust system, by a detective who is above the law and by a crook -- former Judge Thomas Maloney, first judge ever convicted and sent to jail, who is now serving a 15-year sentence.

Support The Campaign's Fund Drive

By: Nate Goldbaum

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty would like to thank the following foundations for their generous support:

  • Resist, Inc.
    259 Elm St., Suite 201, Somerville, MA 02144
  • The Funding Exchange
  • The Crossroads Fund

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is nearing the end of its 1999 national fund drive. With the donations we have already received, we opened a national office. We have reached the halfway mark of our goal of raising $25,000 -- and plans are in place to help raise the remainder.

"I Chose To Look Skyward"

At a Live from Death Row forum held at Columbia University on September 22, Lawrence Hayes provided this statement.

When I was in the death house at Greenhaven Prison, I remember having the same dream over and over and over again. Even now, its every detail is clear and its every underlying meaning still lives true.

In the dream, I was aware of a feeling of becoming lighter and lighter and lighter.

End The Injustice -- Free Lawrence Hayes Now!

By: Alex Lesman

The effort to free imprisoned Campaign member Lawrence Hayes took a dramatic turn in August with the conviction of two New York state parole officials connected to Lawrence's case.

The two were convicted for lying under oath during a federal probe into influence-peddling by the governor's office and the chair of the parole board.

Capital Punishment Or Capital Gain...

I received your address along with a letter from another inmate who is presently on death row. I agree with what you said about the death penalty being a cynical stepping-stone for politicians. I recently wrote a small article called "Capital Punishment or Capital Gain." You may want to publish it in The New Abolitionist.

Over the years, many politicians have used the issue of capital punishment to secure political seats and gain higher office. They use "justice" as a shield to protect them so their real motives aren't shown.

We Need Your Support, So Continue The Struggle

Greetings to all comrades who are dedicated to ending state-sanctioned murder.

As a staunch supporter of yours and a victim of the criminal justice system in Illinois, I must commend all of you on the outside for listening to the voices on the inside. However, there is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind that I would like to share with those who have witnessed the injustice in the system. I'm afraid that, while I am innocent, I didn't get the death penalty, and so my cries are beginning to fall on deaf ears.