From Karl P. Keys, Esq.
The Innocent Protection Act has
hearings slated for next week. Please contact your state's senators to
encourage passage. It may well pass this year as the house has enough
cosponsors to guarantee it makes it to the floor. You can find out how to contact your
Senator by using this link.
From The Death Penalty Information
Congressional Hearings to Examine
Innocence Protection Act
The Senate Judiciary Committee will
review the Innocence Protection Act (S. 486/H.R. 912) and other death
penalty reform proposals during a hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June
18. Later that afternoon, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime,
Terrorism, and Homeland Security will also review the bill during a 4
p.m. hearing. The Innocence Protection Act, which has the bipartisan
support of 235 cosponsors in the House and 26 cosponsors in the
Senate, aims to reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed
by granting greater access to DNA testing by convicted offenders and
by helping States improve the quality of legal representation in capital
cases. For more information, please see the press release from The
Justice Project below.
Release from The Justice Project
MOMENTUM IN CONGRESS FOR DEATH
Back-to-Back Hearings in Senate and
House on Tuesday
Washington, DC - The Innocence
Protection Act (IPA - S 486 / HR 912) and other death penalty reform
proposals will be the subject of back-to-back hearings before the
Senate and House Judiciary Committees on Tuesday, June 18, 2002.
Congress is responding to the growing
concern over flaws in the capital punishment system voiced by both
opponents and supporters of the death penalty. All sides agree that
when a life is at stake measures must be taken to guarantee fair and
just procedures. Rarely have Democrats and Republicans come to such a
working consensus on the need for change.
Death penalty reform proposals have
been introduced in the Senate by Senators Patrick Leahy, Arlen
Specter, Dianne Feinstein, Russell Feingold and others. The
bi-partisan IPA has 26 cosponsors in the Senate.
Representatives William Delahunt and
Ray LaHood are the lead sponsors of the IPA in the House which has
majority support of 235 cosponsors. The IPA will ensure that people
facing a death sentence will be represented by qualified and
experienced counsel, and the bill will increase access to DNA testing
for both capital and non-capital cases.
WHAT: Senate Judiciary Committee
Hearing on Death Penalty Reform Bills
WHEN: 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18,
WHERE: 226 Dirksen Senate Office
WHO: Witness List will be posted:
WHAT: House Subcommittee on Crime,
Terrorism and Homeland Security Hearing on the Innocence Protection
WHEN: 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18,
WHERE: 2237 Rayburn House Office
WHO: Witness List will be posted:
prisons planning improvements
sent to inmates' attorneys explains upcoming changes
By ED TIMMS / The Dallas Morning News
Steps that will be taken to improve
prison conditions are outlined in a letter sent this week to attorneys
who represented Texas inmates in a landmark civil rights lawsuit.
That lawsuit, filed on behalf of
inmate David Ruiz and others who complained of widespread abuses, led
to federal oversight of the state's prison system for more than two
decades. But last week, inmates' attorneys told U.S. District Judge
William Wayne Justice, who in 1980 had ruled that confinement in Texas
prisons constituted cruel and unusual punishment, that they did not
plan to contest the termination of the case.
The letter was a response to concerns
raised by the attorneys for Texas inmates during the lengthy
negotiations that preceded the June 7 announcement.
"The parties continue to
disagree about whether systemic, current and ongoing constitutional
violations exist in TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice] at
this time," Assistant Attorney General Sharon Felfe wrote.
"They do share a common goal that TDCJ be a secure, safe, and
humane institution for staff and offenders, and they broadly agree on
practices and conditions that characterize decent and humane
To read the all article of the
Dallas Morning News web site you'll be asked to sign up. it is a free
executed despite dad's plea
San Antonio Express-News
Daniel E. Reneau was
executed Thursday in Huntsville for the 1996 murder of Kerrville
convenience store clerk Kriss Keeran despite a last-minute appeal by
the victim's father to spare the killer's life.
Charles Keeran called
Gov. Rick Perry's office shortly after 4 p.m. to ask for a halt to the
"This thing has really been eating at me, and I just
think there's got to be a better way" than capital punishment,
"Texas is just becoming a slaughterhouse."
64-year-old truck driver from Las Vegas said he initially supported
the death sentences returned against Reneau and co-defendant Jeffrey
But he said months of reflection about capital punishment have
convinced him that "it's not going to do any good.
It won't deter
a thing." The governor's spokeswoman said Perry would be advised
of Keeran's call, which was referred to the office of general counsel.
Outside the Supreme Court
Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down a ban on
demonstrations on the sidewalk of the Capitol's east front
[front page, June 1]. While sidewalk demonstrations had been
banned, demonstrations were permitted on the steps of the
Capitol. Across the street at the Supreme Court, however,
the opposite is true: Protests are allowed on the sidewalk
but not on the steps. A Supreme Court police officer has
actually said to us, and we quote, "Where the marble
starts, free speech ends." Later this month, 7
anti-death penalty demonstrators will go on trial at D.C.
Superior Court for the crime of unfurling a banner reading
"Stop Executions!" at the top of the Supreme Court
steps on Jan. 17, the 25th anniversary of the resumption of
executions under contemporary law. Peaceful, nonviolent
dissent in this country is a right and a citizen's duty. It
is inexcusable for the government to send conflicting
messages to individuals who engage in such protest based
solely upon the location of such activity.
Letter to the Editor, Washington Post)
TURKEY: Death penalty may
be resolved in collaboration with the opposition Justice
Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said he believed the government
would reach an agreement with the opposition parties on the
death penalty problem if parties did not insist on
abolishing it with a constitutional amendment.
Responding to questions
from reporters following the Prisons Monitor Boards Seminar
held in Istanbul yesterday, Turk stated that Parliament
might legislate a law amendment subjecting crimes of
terrorism to life sentence.
Turk said that coalition
senior partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would be
disturbed if the draft law transforming the death penalty
into a life sentence in various laws, were amended with
motions in Parliament...