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‘abolition’ Category



Giving Thanks and the Road Ahead

In the struggle to end the death penalty, we can sometimes get discouraged by the challenges that we face. This year, however, we have much thanks giving to do.

In April, Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to repeal the death penalty. Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon issued a death penalty moratorium a year ago, and it has continued to foster action towards repeal there. Though California recently failed to repeal the death penalty in a referendum, over four million Californians voted in favor of repeal. And, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll, support for the death penalty has dropped 19 percent over 17 years.

Here at home in Tennessee, we are seeing change as well. Gussie Vann became Tennessee’s third exoneree when all charges against him for the 1992 murder of his daughter were dropped. Ndume Olatushani (formerly Erskine Johnson) was released in June on an Alford plea after spending 27 years behind bars, including 19 years on death row. More murder victims families are joining TADP to let Tennesseans know that the death penalty system does not serve their needs and that the protracted process only prolongs their suffering while more fiscal conservatives are acknowledging that the our state cannot afford the exorbitant cost of the death penalty.

With our thanksgiving for these achievements comes a renewed dedication to the work that still needs doing. Former death row inmate Timothy McKinney continues to fight for his freedom as he awaits his third capital trial. Michael Dale Rimmer’s conviction and death sentence were thrown out by a Memphis judge, and now he waits to see if he will be retried. Currently there are still 85 inmates on Tennessee’s death row, including those like Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman and Olen Hutchison, who are in danger of getting execution dates.

TADP will continue to educate the people of Tennessee about just how broken the death penalty system is, and we look forward to holding our annual student conference at Lipscomb University on February 23, 2013. In years past, this conference has provided an excellent opportunity to bring students from across the state into the death penalty conversation, and we are working diligently to bring even more to the table next year. We are grateful to have Ray Krone, the nation’s 100th exoneree, featured as our keynote speaker, sharing his amazing story with students statewide.

Thanks to all who support this work for repeal. During this Thanksgiving season, we at TADP are truly grateful for you and your support.

(Photo from C. A. Muller)

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New Mexico on the Brink of Repeal

On Friday, March 13, the New Mexico State Senate voted 24-18 in favor of repeal of the death penalty. This vote marked the last hurdle for abolition in the New Mexico legislature. Governor Bill Richardson has until tomorrow to decide if he will sign the repeal legislation into law, abolishing the death penalty in New Mexico.

Please join abolitionists from around the country in urging Governor Richardson to make New Mexico the second state to abolish the death penalty since the 1960s.

Vote YES in this online poll (down in middle of page): http://www.abqjournal.com/

Contact Gov. Richardson urging him to support the repeal of the death penalty in New Mexico, House Bill 285. Call Governor Richardson: 505-476-2225. Email Governor Richardson by CLICKING HERE.

There is no doubt that the abolitionist movement is gaining momentum. State legislatures around the country are realizing that the death penalty is unfair, risks executing the innocent, and is far too expensive to fix and maintain. New Mexico is the newest example that abolition is a reality and that the states that still have the death penalty are on the wrong side of justice. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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More Harm Than Good

There is a murder case in Knoxville that is attracting a lot of news coverage. The case involves the murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom aged 21 and 23 respectively. The state is seeking the death penalty for the four individuals that are being charged for the murder. On Monday, March 3rd, WVLT (Volunteer TV) ran a story about Tennessee’s death penalty in conjunction with the Christian-Newsom murder. You can view the video by clicking HERE.

Highlights of the video include District Attorney General Al Schmutzer stating the following: “if we cannot actually carry out what we say we are going to do in a reasonable amount of time, then we really need to get rid of it because I think it’s doing more harm than good.” You may remember that General Schmutzer is on the committee to study the administration of the death penalty in Tennessee.

I think that Schmutzer’s argument is a valid one. If the intent of the death penalty is to enact the punishment worthy of that sentence, then the state of Tennessee is failing. The average death sentence in Tennessee is over 22 years. The death penalty is promised to families after the murder of their loved ones. Those who find solace in the knowledge that the perpetrator will be executed have to wait two decades while reliving the story over and over again as the inmate seeks his/her appeals. Only 3% of homicides result in a death sentence. The state of Tennessee has only executed 4 inmates since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. Why is the state spending millions on a public policy that has been realized 4 times in over 30 years?

Fortunately, questions such as that are being answered in the reform oriented study committee. Those who would have you believe that the study committee has an abolitionist purpose or is holding up executions in the state of Tennessee are flat out wrong. The committee is made up of a cross-section of the law and is chaired by a pro-death penalty state senator (Sen. Doug Jackson). Executions are not occurring because the US Supreme Court is undergoing a case questioning the constitutionality of the current lethal injection protocols.

I want to thank General Schmutzer for stating what he believes. A public policy that makes promises it does not keep should not be in existence. And, a public policy that is arbitrary, capricious, and costly should not be in existence.

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 complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be extremely 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.

Free Paul House Rally a Success!

At 11:30 a.m. this morning over 25 concerned Tennesseans convened in front of the office of Attorney General Bob Cooper to ask him to drop his appeal in the case of Paul House. The weather was frigid–thermometers read around 13 degrees, even colder with the wind chill–but as the Rev. Sonnye Dixon put it so eloquently in his opening prayer “God delivers us this cold weather to remind us of the cold hearts we need to warm up in this (AG’s) office.”

Rev. Stacy Rector (TCASK Executive Director) kicked off the rally with a stirring rendition of the events that have transpired around Paul House’s case. She reminded us that this case has already seen the halls of the 6th circuit court of appeals three times already. She then asked, kindly, to the Attorney General that we, as the state of Tennessee, admit that this time we were wrong. She wasn’t implicating the Attorney General for actions that took place decades ago, she was instead asking him to do the right thing now. There’s shouldn’t be winners and losers declared in this arena, only the resounding voice of justice. On an unrelated note, Peter Irons wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Tennessean yesterday. He was a bit tougher on the AG, read it HERE.

Following Rev. Rector and Rev. Dixon was Rep. Mike Turner (Old Hickory). I have not been in Tennessee for long, nor have I had the chance to interact with a substantial amount of Tennessee’s state legislators. However, Rep. Turner is someone I admire deeply. He might be a politician, but he isn’t political. He does what he knows is right and does not cease until the mission is accomplished. These are rare traits amongst politicians, or anyone for that matter. Rep. Turner appeared solemn as he delivered his concise remarks. It was as if he was in disbelief that he had to speak about Paul’s continued incarceration especially after receiving “the Christmas gift” that was Judge Mattice’s ruling. I was waiting for Rep. Turner to lay one into General Cooper and to be critical of this action. Instead, Rep. Turner like Rev. Rector employed the grace and understanding that it takes in situations like this. He stated, “I know Bob Cooper and he is a good man. This wasn’t a decision by him, but it was made by those behind him. If Bob wasn’t the Attorney General, he’d be down here with us, out in this cold.”

No rally is complete without music, and you know TCASK loves its music. We were so fortunate to have three excellent artists there, make that three excellent people. Julie Lee played with Bill Tennyson and they sung a beautiful hymn about Psalm 91.

Psalm 91: 5-10, “You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.”

Julie organized a “Free Paul House” concert in 2006 and continues to support the campaign with her beautiful music and energy. Michael Kelsh was the third artist and he sang a classic union song customized for Tennessee and Paul House. Stacy declared Michael to be the “official TCASK musician.” We can always count on Michael to provide us with his soulful voice and skillful guitar playing.

As a grassroots organization it is vital that we have rallies like today’s. It builds solidarity and bolsters the conviction of those present because there is no witness like a public one. I want to congratulate all those who came, but also to those who couldn’t make it, but have kept Paul, his mother Joyce, and all those mired in injustice in their thoughts. We couldn’t do this work without you. Paul won’t be freed without you. We won’t abolish the death penalty without you.

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 complaint among men is the erectile malfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as soul trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be so 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.

Tennessee Op-Eds on New Jersey

A significant amount of media attention has been focused on the death penalty as of late especially with New Jersey’s recent abolition. Much of that attention has been in the great state of Tennessee including this recent op-ed column in The Tennessean that can be found HERE. The op-ed column has also appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Tennessee’s interest in capital punishment shouldn’t come as a surprise. The state recently exonerated Michael McCormick of Chattanooga who served 15 years on Tennessee’s death row. Tennessee is also currently studying the administration of the death penalty in a special committee created by the state legislature. Also, Governor Bredesen commuted the sentence of an individual on Tennessee’s death row to life in prison.

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 dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness 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 highly 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.

It’s Official: New Jersey Abolishes the Death Penalty

Today, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (photo above, Jeff Zelevanksy/Bloomberg News) signed legislation that makes New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in forty years. The eight men on death row in that state have 60 days to decide if they will drop all their appeals and accept sentences of life without parole. The abolition of the death penalty in New Jersey is a great gift to the people of that state, insuring that innocent people will not be executed and that the millions of dollars formerly used on the death penalty system will now be used for programs which actually prevent violent crime and support victims’ families. Read more here.

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 health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be so 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.