Archive for

September, 2006



Innocence: It’s PEOPLE!

If you are one of our faithful readers, then you know that Juan Roberto Melendez, the 99th death row exoneree, was in Tennessee last weekend to give the keynote address to the Tennessee Student Conference Against the Death Penalty. He also told his story at a house party in Nashville on Friday night. And what a story it is.

Juan was convicted of a 1984 murder and armed robbery in Florida and spent 17 years, 8 months, and 1 day on that state’s death row before evidence that the prosecutor had before his trial, evidence including the confession of the true killer and 16 documents corroborating that confession, came to light and led to his exoneration. To hear Juan’s story, a story of loss, pain, and struggle, but also of hope and healing, is to be reminded in the most vivid way that the death penalty has frighteningly high human cost.

People have said that the 123 exonerations from death row prove that the system works, that errors are corrected. I would hazard a guess that none of these people have ever met Juan , who, after nearly 18 years was released with $100, a t-shirt, and not so much as an apology from the state of Florida. The system working would not take 17 years, 8 months, and 1 day of a man’s life away without so much as a thought. And, as Juan reminds us, he was not saved by the system, but in spite of it.

I can’t wait to bring Juan back to Tennessee at some point, so more and more people can understand, on the most intimate, personal, in your gut level, how dangerously and fatally flawed the death penalty system is. One Juan Melendez is too many. But there are over 100 stories just like his.

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Introducing the TCASK Student Caucus

There are long days and then there are long days. Sometimes you have those days that are just tiring and go one forever, where you just collapse at the end of them. And then there are long days that are just packed with activity. Those are the days where you are up and running around all day, but, at the end, though you are exhausted, you lay back and, before falling into a very deep sleep, can take a deep breath and be proud of the day you just spent. And Saturday was an example of the latter.

Because on Saturday, more than forty students from across Tennessee arrived at MTSU at 8:30 am (some having driven from Chattanooga or Memphis, to participate in the TCASK Student Conference Against the Death Penalty. The conference began with an inspiring address of State Representative Larry Turner in which he told students, “You are the present, don’t let anyone tell you to wait for the future!”Students then had two series of workshops, focusing on campus organizing, the moratorium campaign, campus events, fundraising, and high school challenges, with lunch sandwiched in between. After the second round of workshops came break out sessions in which students formed the working groups that they would continue to work with throughout the year, networking between campuses across the state.

After brief pause for school delegations to meet among themselves and bring together the resources and skills they’d received in the different workshops. Then it was time for elections. Because the conference was designed to bring skills and new perspectives to students, but it was also designed to create a structure to facilitate student involvement by founding the TCASK Student Caucus. So students elected their leaders. Including chairs of each working group, a secretary, and two co-chairs of the caucus, one high school and one college student, to represent the student caucus on the board of TCASK. So the TCASK Board of Directors is now proud to welcome Allen McQueen in his new role, and Lillian Siman as our student representatives!

When you have students like this, willing to get up early on a Saturday morning and work all day to develop into leaders of the abolition movement, you know that you are headed in the right direction. Congratulations and thank you to all the students who took part. I know that we can expect great things from all of 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 dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very much 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.

Get Ready . . . Get Set . . .

Tomorrow is the big day, the TCASK Student Conference. We have high school and college students coming from Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, McKenzie, Murfreesboro, all over the state. They’ll hear Juan Melendez talk about spending nearly 18 years on Florida’s death row for a crime that he didn’t commit. They’ll hear State Representative Larry Turner speak about his fight to end the death penalty in Tennessee. They’ll work with student organizers and activists from around Tennessee to build their skills and bring the abolition movement home to their classrooms and campuses. And, hopefully, they will never see Alex’s exhausted body lying in a corner.

My word! There is a lot of work that goes into such an event! Over the last few days we’ve been tweaking workshops (we’ll be finalizing one in the office this afternoon), and preparing our handouts. We’ve been putting together our registration packets, full of goodies and resources for students to call on. We’ve been pulling together our video collections for each participating campus, including “The Empty Chair” and the ABA’s call for a moratorium! I’ll be picking Juan Melendez up at the airport in just a few hours and we have an event with him this evening here in Nashville. Phew. It has been pretty crazy.

And none of it would have been possible without some terrific volunteers. First and foremost, TCASK once again owes a huge debt of gratitude to Professor Amy Staples, who has set up the event on campus and has been doing a ton of the leg work. Then we need to thank Andrea Eller, Melissa O’Flinn, and the whole MTSU TCASK Chapter that have made this workshop possible and will be stuffing folders this very afternoon. And, of course, we have to thank the student working group who inspired the idea and have worked to make it happen: Kathryn and Luke Lea, Kate Adcock, and Allen McQueen. These guys rock!

So, I’ll try not to fall over during the next day or so, and I am sure that the TCASK Student Conference will be a terrific success! And there’s still time for you to show up at MTSU tomorrow and take part in this great event!

See you there!

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 disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness 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 very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile malfunction 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.

News Coverage – It’s a Beautiful Thing


Today’s Shelbyville Times Gazette has a good piece about Daryl Holtons recent date in court and the court’s declaration that he is, in fact, competent to waive his appeals. The piece takes a look at how our society misunderstands mental illness and features TCASK fairly prominently. I love it when we have a good media hit!

The media, obviously, play a huge role in shaping public perception of events, including executions. So a question we continually grapple with is, how do we get our message out there through media outlets that may not be friendly to the abolitionist position? One method is to become an informational resource for the media. We are experts on the Tennessee death penalty system, at least compared to news reporters who are asked to cover a bunch of different issues every day. So we have to make sure that we provide accurate information for reporters whenever they call us. That way, for instance, when there were 5 executions scheduled for June 28th, including Paul Dennis Reid and Sedley Alley, reporters would call us and ask how many of those were real dates. Another example leads us to the Shelbyville Times Gazette article referred to above. We get news out and we do it quickly. When the Holton decision was made on Tuesday, we had a press release out that afternoon. So at the same time as reporters were hearing about the decision on the wire, they were receiving, by email and fax, the TCASK press release with quotes and background information already there for them. If you’ve got it, use it!

And that brings us to the final point about news coverage: give them something to cover. The media wants stories that are interesting. So whenever you do an event, make sure there are good visuals for print and TV outlets. And we try to get a media advisory out which lets the media know that something worth covering will be happening. In the same way, w try to include a hook in our press releases, give them catchy titles and good concise quotes. And sometimes it pays off with good news stories that present our side of the issue.

Read the full Times Gazette article 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 claim among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health 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 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.

The Debate Continues

Yesterday, C-Span aired a forum by the Brookings Institute on the death penalty. This forum looks to be a really informative glimpse of the death penalty system. This is a long program of about two hours, but if you have the time, definitely take a look or a listen to it. You just click on the link above and scroll down until you see “Brookings Institute Panel on the Death Penalty.” I’m listening to it as I’m working in the office today.

One thing that strikes me, as usual, is the insistence of pro-death penalty advocates referring to the death penalty as being “justice” particularly for the victims. As if executing only poor people, and targeting the mentally ill and racial minorities, could ever be just. Still, I think that having open debates is crucial, so I would commend the Brookings Institute for having this panel and I hope that some of you get to watch it, even as we gear up to oppose another state sponsored killing in our own state.

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 soul trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction 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.

In the News

Wow. Four blog posts in one day! This man is blog crazy!

Sadly, there’s just a lot of news to report when executions are on the way. I wanted to wish everyone a good night and tell y’all that News Channel 4 at 10 should be carrying a story about Daryl Holton which should feature TCASK. Hopefully some of us can watch it and see if it’s a good one.

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 disfunction. 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 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.

Holton Denied Relief

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, ruling from the bench this afternoon, declared that Daryl Holton is competent to waive his appeals, thus clearing the way for Holton to be executed in less than two weeks. In doing so, the judge ignored clear evidence that Holton has suffered from major depression and psychosis for more than twenty years, that Holton was suffering from these conditions at the time of the crime, and that Holton has a long series of suicidal impulses which may now be guiding his behavior, especially when we take into account his recent decision to die by electrocution rather than lethal injection.

The sad fact is, of course, that under the ludicrously narrow definition of competence set up by state law, the judge may be, in a strictly legalistic sense, right. Our legal definitions of incompetence have not evolved in 100 years, while our medical understanding of mental illness has increased exponentially. Thus, a man with clearly diagnosed mental illness directing his actions both currently and at the time of the crime is set to be murdered by the state of Tennessee only fourteen days from now.

The one ray of hope escaping from the court proceedings today is that the judge has agreed to issue a Certificate of Appealability. This document would say that reasonable jurors could disagree over the findings and might help convince the Sixth Circuit to grant a stay. However, there is certainly no guarantee, so we at TCASK will continue our plans for clemency and vigiling.

Download a Daryl Holton flyer to post in your school, workplace, church etc.

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 malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness 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.

Fingers Crossed, Prayers, and Good Vibes

Today, the U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Phillips will be hearing arguments from the state and the Federal Public Defender’s office regarding the report issued on Friday by Dr. Bruce Seidner concerning Daryl Holton’s competency to drop his appeals and choose to be executed (by electrocution, no less).

Although Dr. Seidner’s report has not been made public, we do know that the defense will not be allowed to present witnesses who may have a differing view than that presented by Dr. Seidner. We are hopeful, at the very least, that this refusal of the court to hear from all the relevant experts will provide an avenue of appeal if the outcome of today’s hearing is not what we hope.

Holton, who suffers from severe depression and psychosis has been on Tennessee’s death row since 1999. He is the third Tennessee inmate to attempt to drop his appeals this year. So keep you fingers crossed and send good thoughts in the direction of Chattanooga and the Federal PD’s office. But also learn more about Holton’s case and the issue of mental illness. Then write a letter to the editor of your local paper and point out that we should be treating the mentally ill, not killing them. And continue to check your email and check back here to follow the case’s progress.

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 disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction 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 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.

So, What Are You Doing This Weekend?

You could party. You could take the time and clean the house (mine could use it). You could go to the lake while it’s still warm out. But if you are a student in Tennessee, all of those are the wrong answer, because this Saturday at MTSU, you should be attending the TCASK Student Conference Against the Death Penalty! With all the craziness surrounding the office recently (a new director, two execution dates coming up) it would be easy to forget that we have the Student Conference coming up, but we don’t intend to do that.

The Student Conference will provide tools and skills for students to take back to their campuses to organize effectively to end the death penalty! And that’s simply too important to let go by. . The conference will include addresses by State Representative Larry Turner and death row exoneree Juan Melendez. It includes workshops on campus organizing, event planning, high school challenges, fundraising, and the moratorium campaign. There will be working groups formed to continue the work outside the conference. And we’ll have the chance to elect student representatives to the TCASK board! It’s gonna rock!

So if you’re a student in Tennessee, or if you know any students, register for the TCASK Student Conference! It’s free, it includes free lunch, and it should be a great event!

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 dysfunction 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 health 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 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.

Let’s Talk

One of the major reasons for beginning this blog almost ten months ago was to provide a public forum for discussion among the abolitionist community along with distributing information on Tennessee’s broken death penalty system and our work to end it to an end. However, we haven’t done as well as I would have liked at opening the blog for comments from everyone. I know that some people have expressed frustration at the delay in posting comments and the necessity of a blogger identity to post a comment at all.

Previously, if someone posted a comment, it was first sent to the moderator for approval and, once approved, it was posted. After pondering this policy, and listening to what a number of you have had to say about it, I’ve decided that it isn’t in our best interest. So, as of today, all comments will immediately show up on the blog. Additionally, anyone can comment, regardless of whether or not they have a blogger identity. Finally, anonymous comments will be allowed (if anyone checked out the blog last night, you would have seen a comment from “anonymous” saying “booga booga booga” – this was just me testing the new setting).

TCASK wishes to have the broadest possible discussion with as many people as possible, so we’ve put these new blog settings in place. A a quick caveat, we do ask that offensive language, including both word choice and sentiment, be avoided. I still remain the moderator of the blog and retain the right to remove any comments which fail to meet this condition. However, I will not remove comments for any other reason. I hope that this furthers our discussion around the state and the country.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everybody!

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