Archive for

November, 2016



Texas’ Unique Take on Intellectual Disability

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Atkins decision that it is unconstitutional to execute those with intellectual disability. The Court concluded that such individuals are less culpable for their actions because of their limited ability to understand and process information. As the death penalty is supposedly reserved for the ‘worst of the worst’, executing those who are not able to fully understand the implications of their crime, the court ruled, is not effective. Immediately, Texas’ highest criminal court appealed the decision and ruled on its own set of criteria for what constitutes intellectual disability.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court enforced guidelines requiring that states refer to a medical diagnosis for intellectual disability, Texas continues to defend its own, unique set of standards, which defy the medical communities’ reasoning. In fact, Texas prohibits the use of any medical definition of intellectual disability in capital cases, despite relying on such a definition in other contexts, like placing a child in special education or as eligibility criteria for disability benefits. Instead, the court asks arbitrary and non-medical questions such as whether the individual’s family considers him/her to be intellectually limited, or whether ‘Texas citizens’ would agree with the label being applied. Astonishingly, the court has referred to John Steinbeck’s fictional Of Mice and Men character, Lennie, as a benchmark for a person with an intellectual disability.

This month the U.S. Supreme Court will review Texas’ unique approach to intellectual disability in capital cases. At the center of the case is Bobby Moore, a man considered intellectually disabled by all standards other than those of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, who was involved in a botched robbery in Houston in 1980 during which a store clerk was killed. His lawyers argue that as a teenager, Moore did not even understand the days of the week, how to tell the time, and has repeatedly scored within the ‘retardation’ range in IQ tests. The prosecution states that, because Moore was able to ‘adapt to circumstances’ that meant he survived living on the streets after his father kicked him out aged 14, he is deemed mentally efficient enough to be considered for the death penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court will have to decide whether the standards used by Texas to define intellectual disability can stand. Years before the Atkins decision, in 1990, the Tennessee legislature voted to exclude those with an intellectual disability from the death penalty. Fair-minded Tennesseans determined, even before the U.S. Supreme Court, that the death penalty was not appropriate for individuals with intellectual disability.

Today in Tennessee, a coalition of mental health advocates and other organizations called the Tennessee Alliance for the Severe Mental Illness Exclusion (TASMIE) is advocating for this exclusion to be extended to those with severe mental illness. These individuals could still be found guilty and receive sentences like life without the possibility of parole, but a death sentence would be off the table, saving taxpayers millions in capital litigation costs that could provide more resources for law enforcement and more access to treatment for those with mental illness.

TASMIE is educating Tennesseans about these concerns and organizing citizens to advocate for this change in 2017. If you would like to get engaged in supporting the work of TASMIE, please visit TASMIE.org.

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Post-Election: Death Penalty Update

On Tuesday, Americans cast their votes for U.S. President. On the same day, citizens in Nebraska, California, and Oklahoma voted on ballot initiatives regarding the death penalty. Though our allies in these states worked tirelessly to educate voters about the death penalty’s dysfunction, the referendums did not go in favor of repeal. However, despite the fact that the outcomes are disappointing, the definitive trend away from the death penalty continues. Support for the death penalty used to be as high as 80%, and it is now reaching historic 40 year lows, despite a few losses at the polls.

Other electoral results support the trend away from the death penalty as well. District Attorneys who frequently pursued the death penalty lost elections in Florida and Texas. Governors who imposed moratoriums on the use of the death penalty were re-elected. Judges in Kansas who were attacked for their death penalty decisions were retained, and Democrats in the New Mexico Senate retained control after they refused to bring the death penalty back.

This year will be defined by historic lows with regards to new death sentences and executions, and the use of the death penalty is increasingly isolated to just a handful of counties. These election results are just blips on an otherwise clear trajectory away from capital punishment.

Unfortunately, the ballot initiatives were dominated by voter confusion and misinformation. When citizens are given accurate information about this broken system, they often move away from their support of the death penalty. Despite the results, all indications are that the death penalty will continue towards its inevitable extinction as more and more citizens get the facts.

TADP will continue to educate, mobilize, and activate Tennesseans to make repeal a reality in our state. Building common ground with conservatives, law enforcement, correctional officers, murder victims’ families, as well as partnering with our historic allies, we will continue to make the case that the death penalty is a failure, does not make us safer, and wastes resources that we could be using to support murder victims’ families and to prevent violent crime.

As 2016 draws to a close, we hope you will recommit to join us. We are standing on the edge of history as the failure of the death penalty system continues to become more evident. With your help, we can make repeal a reality. Consider supporting TADP today.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual claim among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Sharing Our Stories Spotlight: Clemmie Greenlee

TADP would like to shine a spotlight on some of people who have profoundly impacted the work for death penalty repeal through the sharing of their stories with countless Tennesseans. This week we are focusing on Clemmie Greenlee.

Clemmie is the founder and CEO of the non-profit Nashville Peacemakers, an organization which aims to transform the lives of those living in communities plagued by poverty, violence and crime. Nashville Peacemakers approach change through open dialogue, education, mentoring, communication and well-being.

Clemmie did not have an easy life growing up. She was trafficked into sex work at a very early age, giving birth to her only child at 13. A life of drugs, crime, gangs and violence meant that she did not have the chance to develop a strong relationship with her son. However, as a middle aged woman she was rescued from the streets by the Magdalene program, which helped her turn her life around. She began to re-learn how to trust and love again, and she managed to reconnect with her son, Rodriguez. Devastatingly, not long after the two had rekindled their relationship, he was killed in a gang-related shooting.

Despite this tragedy, Clemmie has never desired for her son’s killer to be executed. The prosecutors in the case appealed to her to seek this sentence, but for Clemmie this was not the solution. It would not bring her closure, or relieve her pain and suffering in any way. Clemmie states, “Why would I, the mother of a murdered son, want to see another mother’s son murdered? I just can’t live with that.” In fact, she wanted to sit down with the young man who committed the murder and to talk to him, to ask him what was going on in his life that brought him to the point of killing another person. She wanted to help him.

It was after her son’s death that Clemmie decided enough was enough, and she started up Nashville Peacemakers to address the issues that affected her own life and her community. She runs programs and projects which aim to empower youth and young adults living in conditions that Clemmie herself knows only too well. He work is focused on helping these young people turn their lives around and move away from gang violence. She is also passionate about ending human sex trafficking, reducing teen pregnancy, drug use and incarceration rates. One of her organization’s program is called Moms Over Murder (M.O.M.), which offers support for mothers who have lost a child or other loved ones to violence. The group also inspires these women to become advocates for change in their own communities. M.O.M will participate in TADP’s Justice Day on the Hill on March 7, 2017, giving the moms an opportunity to share their stories with lawmakers and to identify what their needs really are.

We are so grateful for the time and energy Clemmie gives to us at TADP, and we are excited about the work she is doing to improve communities and to change the lives of our city’s youth for the better. Her support of death penalty repeal is inspired by and interwoven with her deep-rooted determination to reduce violence, to meet people where they are, and to share her vision of a better world for all of us.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.