Abolish the Death Penalty in Texas sign now

To: Governor Rick Perry, the State Judiciary Committee, and all Texas State Legislators

We, the undersigned, troubled by the flawed judicial system, inadequate counsel, and unfair application of the death penalty in this state, ask for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Texas.

The death penalty has not been proven to be a deterrent to crime. Statistics show that states that do not have the death penalty have a lower average murder rate than states that impose the death penalty.

The death penalty targets the poor that can only afford inexperienced and unprepared court appointed attorneys. In April, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voiced support for a moratorium on the death penalty in Maryland and criticized the inadequate funding available for those who represent poor people. People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty, said Ginsburg. I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on the eve-of -execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor noted that perhaps its time to look at minimum standards for appointed counsel in death cases and adequate compensation for appointed counsel when they are used.

The option of life in prison without the possibility of parole is a better option for those convicted of capital murder and should be made available for juries to consider instead of the death penalty. Juries should also be instructed by judges that life in prison in Texas means a minimum of 40 years of incarceration. Parole is not automatic; the parole board does not have to grant parole when an inmate is eligible but has parole hearings to determine if an inmate is qualified to be released.

The death penalty only contributes to an ongoing cycle of violence, showing the youth of our state that state sponsored killing is justifiable.

The death penalty appeals process is flawed, allowing evidence to only be presented when "procedurally correct" and not when evidence becomes available. If the state habeas appeal has been filed it is almost impossible for any new factual evidence to be considered as a basis for a reversal or commutation of sentence.

The death penalty costs more than life in prison. A single death penalty case from arrest to execution ranges in cost from $1 million up to $7 million. Cases resulting in life imprisonment average around $500,000 each including incarceration.

The death penalty has been given to 101 innocent Americans since 1976 who were then exonerated from death row, out of a total convicted of 850, which is 1 in 8.3 or 12\%. This is a statistical fact across the United States, so the statistical probability of Texas have an innocent person on death row is at 12\%. These Americans lost a total of a minimum of 800 years of their lives while imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. In July 2001, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra OConnor said there were serious questions about whether the death penalty is fairly administered in the U.S. She stated, If statistics are any indication, the system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed.

The death penalty is applied to the mentally retarded and juveniles in the state of Texas, which is unequivocally prohibited by International law. The United States is the ONLY country that executes the mentally retarded.

The State of Texas and the United States as a whole is the only western democracy that continues to use the death penalty, linking us with countries like China, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan that also continue to use the death penalty.

We, the undersigned, are asking you as our Governor and State Representatives to Abolish The Death Penalty in Texas.

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Marcia ParsonsBy:
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Residents of Texas


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