Protest the planned execution of Hank Skinner on March 24th!

Sandrine and Hank Skinner

Here for the benefit of those not on Facebook is the substance of today’s plea from Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner. With only a few days remaining for the Board of Paroles and Pardons and Governor Perry to grant a stay of execution so that critical DNA materials can be tested, it’s important to do whatever you can to petition the State and secure a chance for Hank.

Too many death row prisoners have been exonerated upon DNA proof of innocence. Too many people have been executed on unsafe grounds. The criminal justice system is not perfect. Please – Help give this man the chance for life he deserves.

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Hank’s clemency petition is seeking a commutation of Hank’s death sentence to life in prison in order to enable him to prove his innocence and seek a pardon.

WRITE, FAX OR CALL GOVERNOR RICK PERRY

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Fax: 512-463-1849

Main number: 512-463-2000
Website email contact form/ http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact/

or use the online letter signing page set up by the Innocence Project here:
http://www.change.org/innocence_project/actions/view/order_dna_testing_for_hank_skinner

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

All the details of the case are available on the website, however, here are some of the points you can raise:

  • Hank was sentenced to die on the basis of a perjured testimony and circumstantial evidence
  • The accusation theory relied on that one witness, who later recanted and explained how she was threatened to make a false statement to the police and give a deposition at trial which was based on a script supplied by the district attorney’s office
  • Both the State’s star witnesses (Andrea Reed & Howard Mitchell) have testified that they believe Hank to be innocent
  • The little forensic analysis done before his trial excluded him as the killer
  • The additional and minimum testing done during his post conviction appeals excluded him too
  • The available scientific evidence proves his physical incapacitation at the time of the crime
  • The significant quantity of evidence remaining to be tested is essential to reveal the truth about his innocence
  • His motions for DNA testing have been denied although he has always offered to pay for the costs
  • The state of Texas has a very poor record in terms of wrongful convictions and DNA exonerations
  • The interest of justice is to find out the truth and to not execute an innocent
  • The state is withholding the untested evidence that can prove Hank’s innocence
  • All three of the previous D.A.s have publicly stated that they believe the evidence needs to be tested
  • The D.A. has admitted in Ch 64 DNA pleadings that the evidence is in a condition making testing possible, that the chain of custody has been maintained, that the evidence is capable of providing a probative result and identity is an issue in Hank’s case
  • Texas should not execute a man it does not know for a fact to be guilty. After Andrea Reed’s recantation, according to the state’s own experts, the remaining evidence does nothing to prove guilt at all. The A.G has stated through his spokesman that it would violate the constitution to murder someone who is innocent – that has got to apply equally to someone they do not know for a fact to be guilty

Both petitions (commutation and reprieve) as well as three statements attached to the petitions can be dowloaded in the “legal documents” section of the website.

http://www.hankskinner.org

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Event: Voices for Death Row Inmates – London, UK, April 2010

Please see the Facebook Event Page.

On the 30th April Voices for Death Row Inmates have organized a day of action. This involves London, Ohio, Australia and Texas all confirmed with other locations awaiting location confirmation.

At the London event we will have several guest speakers and hopefully an exonerated former death row inmate. We are proud and honoured to announce that Gilles Denizot has confirmed that he will be there to speak about his life working to end the death penalty.

We are holding this peaceful event to show that the world have not forgotten the inmates who sit awaiting their state sanctioned murder. We urge the U.S to abolish the death penalty. They need to be heard and we are their voice.

So make the 30th April available in your diary and get yourself to London, we all fight for the same thing and so join us in solidarity.

This WILL be a day of success and will be the first of many events held by ”VOICES FOR DEATH ROW INMATES”

Venue: Outside US Embassy, London (tbc)

Two new Amnesty events for February

Please see our Events section! News of two new campaigns coming up very shortly:

Unite 4 human rights in Iran

Unite for Human Rights in Iran - Feb 11th

1) Unite for Human Rights in Iran

February 11th is a day of significance in Iran. Amnesty is asking bloggers of the world to unite by posting something on that day to reflect the travesty of Human Rights abuse in Iran. Executions are happening and pending daily there. The Optimism Club will be posting a blog for Iranian justice on that day. Please see the links for more background and details of how you can get involved.

2) Amnesty USA hits the road this month with Witness to Innocence to educate the US public on death penalty issues. Feb 26th – March 7th. Are you resident in the USA? You can join in!

Remember, readers, we WILL see an end to the death penalty in the USA – perhaps within the next ten years – but it needs an active attitude. Don’t be afraid to challenge the points of view of those who claim to support it. There is no justification for capital punishment, anywhere in the world. Check out the Resources page on this website for some starting places to inform and equip yourself in these discussions.

On optimism and the death penalty

This evening I was delighted to learn that @TheOptimismClub had received a nomination for a “Shorty” award, after only 14 days in existence. “I don’t know what good it will do. Just one nomination”, said our sponsor, @favourini, “out of 700 for the ‘non-profit’ category.” I was touched. I’d nominated @innocenceblog (The Innocence Project) a few days earlier, happy to promote a little known but entirely deserving cause and lend to its prominence on the Twitter stage.

Then I reflected. Awards are wonderful. The promotional power of a nomination is a compelling reason to seek even more and to recruit further supporters to the cause in the process. But it’s early days for The Optimism Club. We have work to do. Instead of an award, it would be reward enough to see our efforts and the efforts of all those working alongside us to end capital punishment around the world paying off. And I’m nothing if not optimistic that if we take action we’ll be reaping all kinds of rewards in the months and years to come.

So take note! You read it here first!

Hurray for the end of the Death Penalty!

Hurray for the end of the Death Penalty!

  • In 2010, more countries will abandon the death penalty, Last year, Burundi and Togo took the world total number of abolitionist nations to 139.
  • In 2010, more States will reject the death penalty. Last year, New Mexico became the 15th of the United States to repeal it.
  • In 2010, Troy Davis will be exonerated and released from death row in Georgia, after serving over 20 years for a crime he did not commit. His evidentiary hearing will prove actual innocence in a case that makes history and challenges the constitution itself.
  • In  2010, Reprieve will successfully secure the lives and safety of several British and EU citizens suffering at the hand of injustice overseas.
  • Within the next decade, under pressure from its own constitutional lawyers, international human rights organisations and financial considerations, the USA will have abandoned the death penalty right across the board. Texas may well have seceded from the Federation of course (I speak wryly, with apologies to Stand Down Texas and the Texas Moratorium Network and all the other good folk campaigning hard in that State)
  • Within the next century, capital punishment, mutilation and torture will no longer be tolerated around the world. Some countries will have made steps towards addressing and overhauling criminal justice systems in progressive and significant terms. The planet will have significant challenges to face, but the society of mankind will have moved on.

With your help.