On Thursday last week, petitions signed by nearly 6,000 people were hand delivered to representatives of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, calling on her to reconsider her refusal to show mercy to a mentally ill man who had been scheduled for execution that day. This despite a rare recommendation by the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Parole, which voted four to one to spare Garry T. Allen, who was sentenced to die for his murder of Lawanna Gail Titsworth.
While the execution had previously been stayed by a Federal judge, members of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Oklahoma Affiliate accompanied Shante Allen, Garry Allen's daughter to present the petitions, and they filed this iReport on CNN.com.
There is still time to add your name to the petition - the action alert with links to more details and the petition itself is here.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Marks the Passing of
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director-Counsel John Payton
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John Payton, Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We will miss his great intellect, his sense of humor, his love of people and his great courage and passion for justice for all people.
During his tenure, John Payton led the organization as it continued its long tradition of excellence in the court room and in the arena of public policy advocacy. He held true to a moral compass of equality before the law that would not bow to expediency or the safe and easy route.
John Payton was a strong partner in the struggle to end capital punishment. He embodied the best of the legal profession. He had a heart for service.
We send our condolences to his wife Gay McDougall, his family and our colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. We continue our work today in his honor.
The Winter/Spring edition of Lifelines, the newsletter supporters of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty receive in the postal mail, is now available on our website, here. This edition features a focus on the 35th anniversary year of the National Coalition, profiles of movement leaders including Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin who now leads California's Death Penalty Focus, and much more!
Jeremy Schroeder, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's National Strategy Counsel, will be in Florida later this week for a series of meetings and events with Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Details are here.
Former Texas death row prisoner Kerry Max Cook is asking people to help him win a full pardon by signing this petition. Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out his second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than justice. Unwilling to drop the charges on the eve of his fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. "By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me," says Cook. "I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free...." Read more and take action here.
The Catholic Mobilizing Network's April newsletter is out with features related to North Carolina, including a backgrounder on the Racial Justice Act and a profile of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty's Kairos Campaign.
Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights' Spring/Summer newsletter is now available here, with accounts of our members' work in Asia and Africa, a report from MVFHR's Seminar in New Orleans for new victims' family member activists, a special feature on how exonerations affect victims' families, and our usual "MVFHR in Action" and "Victim Opposition to the Death Penalty in the News" sections. Check it out!