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Fund for Life - NEWS & NOTES III

Spring 2000


Greetings Friends & Supporters

It has been quite some time since I have published an edition of the FFL News & Notes, but as most of you know, my case has been held up in the Federal District Court awaiting a ruling on whether the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 can be applied retroactively to my case. This will be discussed at a later date and at greater length.

We are currently trying to determine what effect, if any, the recent Supreme Court rulings on the Williams' case may have on my situation.

The overview of my case mentioned in my mini-bio is unchanged. I will do a seperate mailing, when the news is available, should it play a pivotal role in my appeal process.

There have been numerous calls for a moratorium as well as New Hampshire´s bid to become the first state in the new millenium to abolish the death penalty, while Texas and other states step up their efforts to execute as many people as possible before a moratorium is in place.

We are stepping up our own efforts to raise funds to hire an attorney to file a petition for clemecy should my own appeals be unsuccessful. This includes increasing the petition drive and other activities.

I have launched a new line of note cards as well as a fine art print in addition to participating in a cyberspace art show. All in all, there is a lot of news to report so let´s get to it.


ON-LINE ART EXHIBIT


For many months now, I have been participating in a cyberspace art exhibit, sponsored by Restitution Incorporated.

President Betsy Wolfenden gives inmates a unique opportunity to voice their opinions on crime, victims and restitution. The inmates receive none of the money raised through the sale of note cards and posters through the site. Each inmate donates the money to a charity of his choosing or to the victim´s survivors.



For more information, log on at: http://www.restitutioninc.org.


CALL FOR A MORATORIUM


Since 1997 when the American Bar Association called for an immediate halt to all executions here in the United States, the sentiments have been echoed over and over again. In 1998, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued a report urging the US government to halt executions. A program, MORATORIUM NOW!, began with the help of Sister Helen Prejean and Susan Sarandon, which continued with MORATORIUM 2000 and the New York Times Ad Campaign, which I was privileged to participate in.

Probably most publicized was the imposition of a moratorium on executions by Gov. George Ryan of Illinois after 13 inmates were proven innocent.

Specifically, here in Texas, the TRAVIS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONVENTION passed a resolution calling for a moratorium in April. They were joined by the TEXAS CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER´S ASSOCIATION, the TEXAS COALITION TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY and numerous other groups, all of which have urged that a moratorium be enacted.

Most recently, in May, the New Hampshire Legislature voted to become the first state to abolish the practice since the Supreme Court allowed its reinstatement in 1976. This may not have been a significant move in practice since there are no inmates on New Hampshire´s death row and there have been no executions in the state since 1939. But, in principle, it would have been a momentous accomplishment to actually have one state not just call for a moratorium, but actually abolish the death penalty. Unfortunately, Gov. Jeanne Shaheen vetoed the bill.

The evidence is mounting that legal representation for capital defendants is grossly inadequate. Poor people are most likely to be sentenced to death and innocent people are inevitably going to be executed. Race continues to play a primary role in the determination of who lives and who dies. Juveline offenders and the mentally disabled continue to be subjected to executions despite international condemnations.

The more people become educated about the inherent flaws of the death penalty, I believe the more people will call for a moratorium, if not outright abolishment. The want for information is there. Capital punishment ranked 37th in search terms on the internet. Pokemon, Britney Spears, WWF and taxes made the Top 10. But hey, capital punishment ranked in front of the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler and prom hairstyles, all of which made the top 50.


If you need help or would like to get your church group, origami group or civic organization involved, a good starting place would be:


Trisha Kendall
MORATORIUM NOW
Equal Justice USA/Quixote Center
PO Box 5206
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Phone: 301-699-0042
Fax: 301-864-2182
Email: ejusa@quixote.org
Web: http://www.quixote.org/ej

Magdaleno M. Rose-Avila
MORATORIUM 2000
8306 Mills Drive # 3607
Miami, Florida 33183
Phone: 305-596-7293
Email: mavila@gte.net
Web: http://www.moratorium2000.org/top_page/index.lasso


We all have purpose and worth.
We all have our own unique voice
in the choir of humanity.
Even a mute can sing

- James V. Allridge III, 2000 -