September 2008 Issue 46

Articles in this Issue:

Why does Georgia want to kill Troy Davis?

By: Marlene Martin

Troy Davis' life hangs in the balance as the New Abolitionist goes to press.

Will the state of Georgia go forward with its scheduled execution date of September 23 and send Troy to his death? Or will the state's Board of Pardon and Paroles commute his sentence?

Can we expect change from the Democrats?

By: Liliana Segura

After the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana this summer, striking down death sentences for child rape, but by the frighteningly narrow margin of 5 to 4, death penalty opponents were dismayed to see presidential candidate Barack Obama denounce the ruling.

Police spy on activists in Maryland

By: Alex Bennett

The Maryland State Police (MSP) spied on anti-death penalty and antiwar activists for over a year from 2005-06. They sent undercover agents into our meetings who pretended to agree with our cause, signed up for our e-mail list and wrote detailed reports about our activities. 

Lethal detention

Is it justice?

By: Derrel Myers

Derrel Myers is a board member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, a member of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights and a long-time civil rights and antiwar activist. He lost his only son Jo Jo in 1996 when a still unknown assailant shot him. Derrel has committed his life to speaking out, not only against the death penalty, but also against an unequal society that breeds violence.

Highlights of the struggle

New York City

By: Ben Davis

New York's CEDP chapter continues work on our initiative to build solidarity with life-without-parole (LWOP) prisoners. As a first step, a chapter member combed through the statistics of all prisoners with LWOP sentences in our state, finding that an astonishing 81 percent are people of color.

Lawrence Foster

Help family members attend the CEDP convention

I am the grandfather of Kenneth Foster Jr., who was saved from execution one year ago in Texas.

I am writing to ask you to donate to the Costella Cannon Scholarship Fund so that myself and other family members of death row prisoners can afford to come to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty's annual convention this year.

Kenneth, who many of you have come to know, lived with me for many of his formative years, and I brought him up as a son. On the day he was born, I was at the hospital in Austin. For some reason, I just fell in love.

Voices from the Inside

Death Row Prisoners Speak Out

By: Karl Chamberlain,Tremane Wood, Renaldo Hudson

One day the poor will have their own voice

 Hello Campaign activists,

An interview with Kenneth Foster

One year after a struggle that won

By: Laura Brady

It's been one year since a declaration of victory resounded in Texas: Kenneth Foster Lives! 

Kenneth had been sentenced to death in 1997 under Texas' unique application of the "Law of Parties," a draconian statute that allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty against a person, even if they did not kill someone.

Highlights of the struggle


By: Julien Ball

Efforts to win justice for Chicago police torture victims appear to be picking up steam. In June, news reports confirmed that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed five to ten detectives under former Commander Jon Burge to testify in front of a grand jury about their knowledge of police torture in Chicago. Attorneys and activists have documented well over 100 instances of electro-shock, suffocation and/or beatings to elicit confessions from African-American men in the 1970s through the early 1990s.

Highlights of the struggle

Austin, TX

By: Jason Kyriakides

Since the beginning of summer, the Austin, Texas, CEDP Chapter has been increasing the pressure on the death-hungry Texas government to abolish it. We focused primarily on two cases: the Yogurt Shop Murder case from Austin and the Jeff Wood case from San Antonio.

In the Yogurt Shop case, new trials are being scheduled for Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen, who were convicted for murder on the basis of coerced confessions.

Highlights of the struggle

Bay Area

By: David Russitano

Going back to May, we co-hosted a great tour stop at De Anza Community College, along with a very active campus organization called Students for Social Justice. Speakers on the panel included Barbara Becnel, Elizabeth Terzakis, and Veronica Luna. Veronica kicked off the program by telling her personal story about her uncle who is currently on death row in San Quentin. Veronica's son, who is a member of Students for Social Justice, was the moderator for the panel. About 35 people came to the event.

Keeping it real

A small taste of freedom

By: pardoned Illinois death row prisoner Stanley Howard

It's been five years since then-Gov. George Ryan pardoned me and allowed me to walk off Illinois' death row. Unfortunately, because of another bogus conviction, I wasn't immediately released like the other three pardoned members of the Death Row 10.

Thank You

By: Marlene Martin

I want to send a very special message of thanks to all of those who have recently donated to our fundraising appeal letter and to those special "100" who are our monthly sustainers!

So often included with your checks are comments like "Keep up the great work" and "We will abolish the death penalty!" 

Show the new documentary!

Stanley Tookie Williams

See the highly acclaimed new documentary, Tribute, about the legacy of Stanley Tookie Williams. Tribute--which premiered in the United States as part of the Hollywood Black Film Festival in Beverly Hills and has since been screened at film festivals in San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta--is now available on DVD.

A death row art show

"I Shall Create"

Curated by Alice Kim and Sara Brodzinsky, this art show featured the works of death row prisoners Zolo Azania in Indiana, Kevin Cooper in California and Renaldo Hudson in Illinois. For the month of July, select paintings by these three artists hung on the walls of Treat Restaurant, a Chicago neighborhood restaurant.

Jeff Wood wins a stay

By: Liliana Segura

On Thursday, August 21, the state of Texas came perilously close to executing Jeff Wood, who was convicted in 1996 for a murder he did not commit. Wood was sentenced to die under the same Law of Parties that almost led to Kenneth Foster Jr.'s murder last summer.

Unlike in Kenneth's case, however, there was no call from Jimmy Carter or Desmond Tutu to stop the execution. There were not sweeping editorials in the Texas papers calling it a miscarriage of justice.