Petitions to Governor
Tell Governor Lee: Grant Clemency to Pervis Payne
TADP needs you to contact Governor Lee to ask him to commute Pervis Payne’s death sentence to life.
Here is a sample message that you can use, but please put it into your own words and focus on Pervis Payne, not the broader issue of death penalty repeal.
Dear Governor Lee,
I am writing to ask that you prevent a grave injustice and commute the death sentence of Pervis Payne to life.
Mr. Payne is a person living with intellectual disability whose racially charged case has all the hallmarks of a wrongful conviction.
The U.S. Supreme Court determined that executing a person with intellectual disability violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. Over the course of this case, Tennessee’s judicial and legislative branches have abdicated their responsibility for ensuring that Mr. Payne is not unconstitutionally executed. That leaves you with the power to prevent this miscarriage of justice by granting clemency to Pervis Payne.
Mr. Payne had no history of violence or illicit drug use and has always maintained his innocence. In addition to exploiting his vulnerability because of his intellectual disability, prosecutors presented a story of a drug-addled, sex-crazed Black man preying on a white woman at trial.
The testing of the crime scene evidence for DNA was authorized by the court in September 2020, but the state is now missing key pieces of this evidence that, if tested for DNA, could validate Mr. Payne’s unwavering claims of innocence. Still, testing results of the remaining evidence revealed unknown male DNA on the handle of the murder weapon. This finding only raises more doubt.
I grieve for Christopher family. They deserve justice. That cannot come through executing a man with intellectual disability, who may, in fact, be innocent.
Governor Lee, I urge you to consider all these issues and exercise your power to grant clemency to Pervis Payne.
Your Name, Address, and Email
Letters can be mailed to: Governor Bill Lee, 1st Floor, 600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Nashville, TN 37243
Or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. If you have trouble with Governor Lee’s email link, please cut and paste his address into a new email. Also, please don’t copy TADP on the email!