GFADP STATEWIDE MEETING, Connecting the Dots: Building a Movement to End the Death Penalty

    posted Jul 24, 2014, 8:41 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jul 24, 2014, 8:48 AM ]

    We are looking forward to GFADP's Statewide Meeting on Saturday, August 23, Connecting the Dots: Building a Movement to End the Death Penalty. It will be a full day of dynamic workshops; community building and visioning of GFADP's work for the year ahead. This event is free and open to the public. Please register by Monday, August 18, 2014, using this link, so we can have an accurate count for food.  We will have more information in the coming weeks about the specific agenda. Please help us spread the word.  For more information, please contact info@gfadp.org.  

    Click here to view the flyer. 

    Send a Thank You Note to the Georgia Parole Board of Pardons and Paroles

    posted Jul 10, 2014, 9:39 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jul 10, 2014, 9:41 AM ]

    We are very grateful for the decision from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant Tommy Waldrip clemency.

    As you might know, the Parole Board is the entity in Georgia that has the sole authority to grant or deny clemency (either to commute, or reduce, a death sentence to life without parole.) Only after a person has exhausted all appeals and other avenues of relief will the Parole Board consider granting clemency.  

    It is very rare that the Parole Board decides to grant clemency. The last person on death row in Georgia to be granted clemency was Daniel Greene in 2012.

    This was the 5th time since 2002 that clemency has been granted, and as Georgians, it's critical that we show our support for what might be an unpopular decision from the Parole Board. 

    Please take a moment to senda thank you letter to the Parole Board.  

    Chairman Terry Barnard
    The State Board of Pardons and Paroles
    Floyd Veterans Memorial Building
    2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, S.E.
    Atlanta, GA 30334-4909

    Via facsimile 404-651-6670

    With hope,

    GFADP

    BREAKING NEWS: Tommy Waldrip commuted to LIFE!

    posted Jul 9, 2014, 4:24 PM by GFADP staff

    We are thrilled to share some great news! Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued an order commuting Tommy Lee Waldrip’s sentence from death to life. We rejoice at this good news and express our bottomless gratitude to all who advocated for Tommy, particularly his extraordinary legal team. We keep both Tommy and the victims' family members in our hearts and thoughts.
     
    Below is an article that offers some insight into the clemency petition that succeeded in moving the Parole Board to their decision. 

    UPDATE: Waldrip’s death sentence commuted to life without parole
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Georgia death row inmate Tommy Lee Waldrip has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison without parole a day before his scheduled execution on Thursday.
    It is the fifth death sentence commuted by the parole board since 2002. The last inmate on death row in Georgia to be granted clemency was Daniel Greene. Greene’s sentence was commuted to life without parole on April 20, 2012, according to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
     
    Waldrip, now 68, is one of 28 men who have been on Georgia’s Death Row for more than two decades, frustrating prosecutors, law enforcement officers and relatives of victims. One inmate, Roger Collins, has been on Georgia’s Death Row since 1977 for a Houston County rape and murder. Yet, the national average for time spent on Death Row is 15 years.
     
    Keith Evans, a college student working at a Cumming convenience store, had testified against Waldrip’s son in a 1991 trial, but the armed robbery conviction was overturned. Evans again was expected to be the primary prosecution witness.
     
    Two days before the retrial was to begin, the two Waldrips and Howard Linvingston, the older man’s brother, ran Evans off the road as he was driving home after work on a Saturday night. First they fired buckshot through the windshield of Evans’ truck and then the younger Waldrip and his uncle drove the truck to another location in Dawson County, with Evans in the passenger seat. It was there that they beat him to death with a blackjack. The three took Evans’ body to neighboring Gilmer County and buried him. The truck was discovered burning on Highway 52.
     
    Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said he was assigned to watch Tommy Waldrip, an immediate suspect, the next morning.
     
    The sheriff said he was disturbed watching Waldrip go into the Harvest Baptist Church to a sanctuary where Carlisle’s wife and children were worshiping.
     
    “How can you do something like this on Saturday night and go to church the next morning… and lead singing like nothing ever happened?” Carlisle said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
     
    Waldrip was arrested on the third day after Evans was killed, linked to the crime by his wife’s car insurance card that was dropped near the burned truck.
     
    Waldrip was sentenced to die on Oct. 28, 1994.
     
    Attorneys for Waldrip argued that the sentences for the same crime were not proportional even though all three went to trial. Livingston, Waldrip’s brother, and the son, John Mark Waldrip, were both sentenced to life in prison. Testimony also showed that the son is the one who shot Evans and later beat him.
     
    In announcing its decision, the board does not give a reason. Each member casts their votes in private and offer no reason and then the chairman tallies the votes.
     
    The appointments with the board today were not open to the public but his lawyers also presented letters from members of a church that Waldrip establish just outside of Charleston, S.C., many years before Evans was killed.

    Sign on letter- Doctors and Lethal Injection

    posted Jul 3, 2014, 12:17 PM by GFADP staff

    Friends,

    We believe that Georgia should not cloak its executions in secrecy, preventing the public from obtaining basic details about the states’ execution processes.  We are disturbed by botched executions that have happened around the country, and are concerned that the lack of transparency in Georgia’s method of procuring compounded pentobarbital used in lethal injection executions makes it impossible for the courts to ensure that executions will be carried out in a humane manner.

    For these reasons, we call upon Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly to end the extreme secrecy surrounding Georgia’s death penalty, repeal the Lethal Injection Secrecy Act, and allow transparency and full disclosure into a criminal justice system that requires it.

    Please read the letter below and consider signing on.

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    To endorse this letter, please send your name, title, affiliation (e.g. organization if applicable), mailing address, phone number and email address to GFADP: info@gfadp.org

    Please share this letter with other Georgians, so that we can build a strong list!

    Note: we will publicize this letter, including all of its endorsers; therefore, we assume we can publicly list your name in association with this letter.  We will not use your name for other purposes unless expressly permitted by you.

    Please send your endorsement as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your support!

    With hope,

    GFADP


    Letter:

    As healthcare consumers,

    • We want to make informed decisions about our healthcare;
    • Are entitled to accurate information about our health care professionals;  and
    • Have the right to seek consultation with the physician(s) of our choice and to contract with our physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms.

     

    It is our right to ensure that values held by our physician(s) are consistent with our personal beliefs.  As Georgians who are very concerned about the manner in which the death penalty is administered in our state,

     

    • We choose not to patronize any physician who participates in the procurement of lethal injection drugs because such involvement would conflict with our strongly-held morals and values; and
    • We seek to learn whether or not our physician(s) are involved in this practice.

    However, the Lethal Injection Secrecy Act of 2013, O.C.G.A. 42-5-36(d), classifies this critical information as a “state secret”, and goes so far to criminalize any person who discloses information about any physician’s role in executions. This clause makes it impossible for us to be able to have a frank, truthful conversation with our physician(s) as disclosing affirmative information would constitute a violation of the law.

    Because the Lethal Injection Secrecy Act makes it impossible for Georgians to determine if their physician(s) are involved in lethal injection drug procurement, our most basic freedoms in decision-making regarding our healthcare are being obstructed.

     

    We believe that if Georgia is going to have the death penalty, then our state should not cloak its executions in secrecy, preventing the public from obtaining basic details about the states’ execution processes.  We are also disturbed by botched executions that have happened around the country in 2013 and 2014, and are concerned that the lack of transparency in Georgia’s method of procuring compounded pentobarbital used in lethal injection executions makes it impossible for the courts to ensure that executions will be carried out in a humane manner.

     

    For these reasons, we call upon Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly to end the extreme secrecy surrounding Georgia’s death penalty, repeal the Lethal Injection Secrecy Act, and allow transparency and full disclosure into a criminal justice system that requires it.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    [List of endorsers]

     

    Name: ___________________________________

    Affiliation: ________________________________

    Address: __________________________________­­­

    Telephone: ________________________________

    Email: ____________________________________

     

     

     

     

    GFADP's Grassroots Initiative for Organizing and Transformation (GRIOT) Project applications are now open!

    posted Jun 25, 2014, 2:33 PM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jun 25, 2014, 2:35 PM ]

    Friends,

    We are pleased to announce that applications for the 1st  Grassroots Initiative for Organizing and Transformation (GRIOT) Project are now open!

    GFADP’s GRIOT Project is a specialized leadership development program aimed at supporting at least 20 leaders of color from across the state. 

    The GRIOT Project is designed to be a learn-by-doing approach to skill-building.  These leaders will be exposed to best practices in base-building, campaign development, media strategy, policy advocacy, coalition building and personal development activities.  In conjunction with the program, participants will also help GFADP lead and establish Organizing Committees in Atlanta, Columbus, Dawson, Macon, and Savannah.  The skills developed through the program will immediately be put to use to advance GFADP’s mission and empower communities of color in Georgia, ensure that those most directly impacted by this system are at the forefront of designing innovative solutions that address its problems. GFADP is seeking highly motivated individuals who wish to create positive change in their communities, who are committed to social and racial justice, and who dedicated to GFADP’s mission.

    Click to view the full application and instructions to apply.

    Deadline to apply is July 16, 2014.

    Selected Participants Notified: July 23, 2014

    Apply now to participate in this top-notch, specialized leadership development training program.
     
    We hope you'll consider applying--and that you'll help us spread the word to those you think could benefit from participation in the GRIOT project.  

    Onward!

    The GFADP Team

    Execution date set for Tommy Lee Waldrip

    posted Jun 24, 2014, 2:27 PM by GFADP staff

    We’re very sorry to share that the Department of Corrections has set an execution date for Tommy Waldrip for Thursday, July 10 at 7pm.
     
    We will be in touch about further action.
     
    The AP article is below.
     
     
    Execution set for Ga. Inmate convicted of killing man who was set to testify against his son
    By Kate Brumback
    Associated Press
    July 24, 2014

    ATLANTA — A Georgia death row inmate convicted of murder in the slaying of a store clerk who was scheduled to testify against his son is to be executed next month, the state attorney general's office said Tuesday.
    Tommy Lee Waldrip is set to die at 7 p.m. on July 10 at the state prison in Jackson, Attorney General Sam Olens' office said in a news release. A Dawson County jury in October 1994 convicted him and recommended the death penalty for the April 1991 killing of Keith Evans.
    His execution date comes on the heels of the June 17 execution of death row inmate Marcus Wellons, which was the first in the United States since a botched April execution in Oklahoma.
    Evans was a store clerk in Forsyth County and had testified in the 1990 armed robbery trial of Waldrip's son, John Mark Waldrip. The younger Waldrip was convicted, but he was granted a new trial and released on bond, according to Georgia Supreme Court records from Tommy Lee Waldrip's case. Evans was set to testify in the retrial.
    On April 13, 1991, several days before the new trial, John Mark Waldrip called another witness and threatened to harm him if he testified.
    Later that evening, Tommy Lee Waldrip, his son and his brother-in-law Howard Livingston ran Evans' truck off the road at a highway crossing in Dawson County and fired a shotgun through the windshield, hitting him in the face and neck, authorities said. Evans was still alive and the men drove him in his truck to another location, where they beat him to death, authorities said. Evans' body was buried in a shallow grave in Gilmer County and his truck was set on fire.
    Authorities found an insurance card for Tommy Lee Waldrip's wife's car near the burned truck. Waldrip denied any involvement in Evans' disappearance in an interview the next day. But he was arrested a couple of days after that and later confessed to shooting and beating Evans and burning his truck. Authorities said he led them to Evans' body and the shotgun.
    The next day, he said his son and brother-in-law had killed Evans and burned the truck and that he was just a bystander. In a third statement, he said all three of them were involved, authorities said.
    John Mark Waldrip and Livingston are both serving life sentences in the killing.

    Clemency denied for Marcus Wellons

    posted Jun 16, 2014, 2:35 PM by GFADP staff

    We’re sorry to share the news that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole denied clemency for Marcus Wellons.

    For now, please plan on attending a vigil at one of the twelve sites as we gather in opposition to state sanctioned killing in our names.

    Here’s the schedule: http://www.gfadp.org/vigils

    We’ll be in touch about any new developments. The AJC article is included below.


    Parole board holds firm on Wellons execution

    By Rhonda Cook, June 16, 2014

    The state Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected condemned murderer Marcus Wellons’ request for clemency in the death sentence for a 1989 murder of a Cobb County teenage girl.

    Wellons attorneys had argued before the five person board Monday morning that he deserved mercy because he was remorseful about killing 15-year-old India Roberts, who lived near the Vinings townhome where Wellons’ girlfriend lived.

    The board did not give a reason for denying the request. Now it’s in the hands of a federal judge who heard arguments to stay the execution set for 7 p.m. Tuesday. Attorneys are say Wellons’ constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment could be violated if the compounded drug he is given is ineffective. His lawyers question the source and safety of the pentobarbital, made specifically for Wellons, saying there is no way to check the credentials of the pharmacist who made it or the pharmacy’s successes or failures.

    “Terrible things can happen,” said attorney Bo King of the compounded drugs. When they go wrong, they go terribly, horribly wrong for the prisoner.”

    U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten said he would have a decision soon on Wellons’ challenge to Georgia’s 1-year-old law that makes the identities of those involved in a lethal injection, including the maker of the drugs, a state secret.

    If Wellons is executed, he will be the first man Georgia has put to death using a massive dose of pentobarbital. This also will be the first time an execution is carried out since Georgia law made the source of lethal injection drugs a state secret.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/wellons-attorneys-ask-parole-board-for-mercy/ngMCS/

    Urgent Action for Marcus Wellons

    posted Jun 10, 2014, 11:58 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jun 10, 2014, 12:00 PM ]

    As you know, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Brian Owens, set an execution date for Marcus Wellons for Tuesday, June 17 at 7:00pm.

    His lawyers will present to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday, June 16 at 9:00am. The Parole Board is the entity in Georgia that has the sole authority to grant or deny clemency  (either to commute, or reduce, a death sentence to life without parole.) Only after a person has exhausted all appeals and other avenues of relief will the Parole Board consider granting  clemency. 

    Please take a moment to send a letter to the Parole Board today.

    Download a sample letter to Board of Pardons and Paroles and edit to include your name and address at the bottom, then print, sign, and fax or mail to:

    The State Board of Pardons and Paroles
    Floyd Veterans Memorial Building
    2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, S.E.
    Atlanta, GA 30334-4909
    Fax: 404-651-6670

    Also, please plan to attend a vigil near you on Tuesday, June 17. http://www.gfadp.org/vigils

    We will keep you posted on any new developments.

    Execution date set for Marcus Wellons

    posted May 28, 2014, 2:39 PM by GFADP staff

    We’re so sorry to share the news that Georgia has once again wound up its machinery of death and has set an execution date of June 17th for Marcus Wellons.

    As you know, this warrant comes just a week after the stay on executions in Georgia based on lethal injection challenges was lifted.

    We will be in touch about action items and how you can help to stop this execution. Please stay tuned.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/state-sets-june-17-execution-date-for-wellons/nf8f3/


     

    May 15: Celebrating Mike Vosberg-Casey and Edward DuBose

    posted May 5, 2014, 9:23 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated May 5, 2014, 9:37 AM ]

    The 2014 Mary Ruth Dinner is next week! Have you bought your ticket yet?

     
    The keynote speaker and the  recipient of the MaryRuth Weir Human Rights Award is Edward DuBose. Edward Dubose is the immediate past President of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP. In his role, with the NAACP, he elevated the voices of many communities in the rising opposition to the death penalty and showed true leadership in the campaign to stop the execution of Troy Davis.  With this Award, we honor his work to fight the death penalty, as well as tireless efforts to call attention to police and prosecutorial misconduct, like when he pulled together over 15,000 people to rally and call for justice for the shooting death of Kenneth Walker, and his leadership in building a movement of people who not only demanded but successfully won Genarlow Wilson’s freedom from prison.
     
    The recipient of the Martina Correia Courage Award is the late Mike Vosburg Casey. 
    In Mike’s years advocating for those on death row and in prison, he gave a voice to those our state would like to forget. He brought understanding and compassion for these men who are often met with hostility. With this Award in Martina’s name, we honor and give thanks for Mike’s years of service to his beloved community, including the homeless and people in prison and on death row, his deep dedication to peace and his weekly presence at anti-war demonstrations and unwavering opposition to US lead wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his work to shine a light on the atrocities of the School of the Americas and the role that doctors play in executions, and his unrelenting, bold commitment to speak truth to power- even when it made others uncomfortable.

    Seventh Annual MaryRuth Weir Memorial Dinner and Silent Auction
    Thursday, May 15, 2014, 6:00pm
    Central Presbyterian Church
    201 Washington St SW; Atlanta, GA 30303
    $50.00 Individual tickets
    Justice Benefactor - $1500 ▪ Fairness Patron - $1000 ▪ Human Rights Advocate - $750 ▪ Supporter-$500
    Please RSVP with the attached form by May 9, 2014
     
    We hope you will join us on May 15 at 6pm to honor the lives of MaryRuth Weir and Martina Correia, and celebrate the contributions of Edward DuBose and Mike Vosburg Casey.

    With hope, 
     
    Board of Directors, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
    Lindsey Burgess, Margaret Eskew, Senator Vincent Fort, Terrica Redfield Ganzy,  Kathryn Hamoudah, Peggy Hendrix, Suzanne Hobby-Shippen, Tabatha Holley, Brenna McEowen, Em McNair, Bill Moon, Rosalyn Rouse and Sara Totonchi

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