Urgent Call to End Death Penalty Marks 5th Anniversary of Troy Davis Execution

posted Sep 20, 2016, 8:40 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Urgent Call to End Death Penalty Marks 5th Anniversary of Troy Davis Execution

 

ATLANTA – Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) will mark the 5th anniversary of the execution of Troy Anthony Davis on September 21, 2016 with an urgent call to abolish the death penalty.

 

Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 for the 1989 murder of a Savannah, Georgia police officer, Mark Allen MacPhail, and given a death sentence, largely because of the testimony of eyewitnesses.  No murder weapon was ever uncovered, nor was any material evidence that Troy had shot Officer MacPhail, who was off-duty and working as a security guard.  Troy’s execution went forward despite major doubts about evidence used to convict Troy of killing Mark MacPhail, including the recantation of seven of the nine non-police witnesses. 

 

Troy Davis’s case highlighted many of the problems in our legal system surrounding capital punishment, including the risk of executing an innocent person. Since 1973, 156 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.  

 

The I AM TROY DAVIS movement, spearheaded by Troy Davis’s sister and biggest champion, Martina Davis-Correia, saw thousands of Georgians take to the streets and to social media, joining millions from around the world in calling for a halt to Troy’s execution, as well as for a new trial for Troy.  World leaders and other prominent figures and organizations, including Amnesty International, NAACP, President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and Norman Fletcher, Former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, raised their voices for Troy Davis.  Hundreds of thousands of petitions and letters were sent to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles asking that they grant clemency to Troy.  Despite these valiant efforts, Troy Anthony Davis was executed at 11:08 pm on September 21, 2011.

 

The momentum of the movement to stop Troy’s execution has carried forward into 2016 with a renewed sense of urgency to abolish the death penalty.  The same judicial system that killed Troy Davis is completely and utterly broken, yet it remains in place.  Over seventy people remain on death row in Georgia, and just under 3,000 people are under death sentences nationwide.  Time is of the essence to halt their executions. 

 

Georgia is currently one of only three states in 2016 continuing to carry out executions in an era when both state and national trends surrounding the death penalty have shown a significant downturn.  Georgia hasn’t sentenced anyone to death in over two years and prosecutors here are rarely seeking death sentences, yet we find ourselves in a moment when executions are surging upward.  In 2016, Georgia has carried out six executions, more than in any previous calendar year since executions were allowed to resume in 1976.  This slew of executions is upsetting and horrifying, and not at all in touch with the momentum away from the death penalty in Georgia and the rest of the nation.

 

The anniversary of Troy Davis’s execution is an opportunity to honor his life and all of those who fought for him by renewing our commitment to the abolition of the death penalty, at a critical time of a disturbing resurgence of executions in Georgia.  The system of capital punishment is broken beyond repair, and it continues to be riddled with problems, including racial bias, inadequate legal resources and representation, exorbitant costs, failure to serve as a deterrent to violent crime, and the possibility of executing an innocent person, as the case of Troy Davis demonstrated with a devastating outcome.  All of our voices are urgently needed to spread the word about these profound injustices, and to stop executions once and for all.

 

All people of conscience in Georgia are invited to join GFADP members at two events on September 21, 2016, the 5th anniversary of Troy Davis’s execution, as we call, once again, for an end to the death penalty:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 10:00 AM

Location: Liberty Plaza, behind the Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta

Rally at our state Capitol featuring leaders from Georgia faith communities calling for a ban on capital punishment in Georgia.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 7:00-9:00 PM

Location: Elevator Factory, 437 Memorial Dr SE, Unit A-2, Atlanta

A multimedia event hosted by Amnesty International-Atlanta, including visual memories, classical sounds, and compassionate conversation. Featuring speakers on the topics of the death penalty, deadly force and gun violence.  


Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is the statewide coalition of concerned organizations and individuals working for greater fairness in Georgia's criminal justice system and an end to capital punishment.

 

 

 

Date Change for MaryRuth Weir Dinner

posted Sep 1, 2016, 2:10 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah

We are writing to share that due to family related matters, Sister Helen Prejean will not be able to be the keynote speaker for the dinner, originally scheduled for Thursday, September 15. 

While we are sorry to hear the circumstances that won’t allow Sister Helen to be present; we are very excited to share that Tony Amadeo will be our keynote speaker at the dinner on Thursday, October 6. 

A little about Tony: 

Tony Amadeo, a longtime Southern Center for Human Rights client was granted parole last fall in Alabama after serving 38 years in prison.  

The full story is too long to include in this e-mail.  But here’s a brief and incomplete summary: Tony was sentenced to death in Georgia and also charged with capital murder in Alabama in 1977.  SCHR and others took on Tony’s case, obtained reversal of the Georgia conviction and death sentence thanks to a critical decision from the United States Supreme Court (Amadeo v. Zant), and then resolved both the Georgia case and the Alabama case for consecutive life sentences. In prison, Tony made the most of his time and accomplished amazing things.  He assembled a perfect institutional record, graduated summa cum laude from Mercer University, and earned the respect of everyone he encountered.  

Here is a nice new story on Tony: http://static.cnhionline.com/cnhi/sites/athensreview/lms.html

We are very lucky and honored to host Tony. We are in a moment when our state has executed 6 people this year and there will likely be more. Tony and other death row survivors are a very important reminder about why we do this work. 

Thank you all for your flexibility and we very much look forward to seeing you on October 6. 

We will more information about how to purchase tickets very soon.

 

It Stops Here

posted Jul 13, 2016, 8:59 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Jul 13, 2016, 9:11 AM ]

Following the latest murders of two Black men by police, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, people are in the streets demanding an end to police brutality and for accountability. Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty was formed as a response to the blood bath created when the death penalty was reinstated. In our work to end the death penalty, we recognize these extrajudicial killings are very much connected to government sanctioned executions, which are often motivated by race.

As you know, John Conner is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, July 14 at 7pm. If his execution goes forward, he will be the sixth person executed this year. The last time there have been that many executions in a single year in Georgia, was 1987. As a society, we have learned so much about the death penalty in recent years, and new facts about individual cases are changing our perspectives on executions. Georgia hasn’t sentenced anyone to death in a year and a half do in part to juries becoming increasingly more uncomfortable with imposing a death sentence and yet we are in a moment when executions are surging upward.

It stops here. 

We are asking that those on Facebook change their profile photos to the attached photo on Wednesday, July 13, with the caption below.

 

Here’s what you do: 

  1.      Download and save the attached photo
  2.      Upload the photo as your profile photo with this caption( make sure to add the caption, so there is context to the photo):

 

Georgia is set to surpass its record for the most executions in a year. If John Conner’s execution goes forward, it will be the sixth one this year. While the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is the only entity that can grant clemency, the five members are appointed by the Governor. Please take a moment to call Governor Deal at 404-656-1776 and urge him to intervene. Please take this action TODAY. Below is a sample script. #itstopshere

 

“Hi, my name is ______, and I am a Georgia voter from ______. I am writing to ask you to urge your parole board to grant clemency for John Conner. Mr. Conner is scheduled to be executed on July 14 and I am deeply troubled that Georgia might proceed with this execution. Again, please urge your parole board to grant John Conner clemency. Thank you.

  

Thank you for taking action.

 

In Solidarity, and with hope,

Kathryn Hamoudah on behalf of GFADP 

TAKE ACTION for John Conner on Wednesday, JULY 13th at 8:00AM

posted Jul 12, 2016, 2:17 PM by GFADP staff

Please join us tomorrow, 7/13, as we gather outside the Sloppy Floyd Building at 8:00am to show support to John Conner’s legal team and his family before his clemency hearing. The address is 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, S.E., Atlanta 30334. Bring your own signs and banners if you are inspired to do so! You can read his petition for clemency here. 

Also, take a moment to contact the Governor Nathan Deal to influence his parole board. While the parole board is the only entity that can grant clemency, the five members are appointed by the Governor. Please take a moment to contact Governor Deal and urge him to intervene. Please take this action TODAY. Below is a sample script. 

“Hi, my name is ______, and I am a Georgia voter from ______. I am writing to ask you to urge your parole board to grant clemency for John Conner. Mr. Conner is scheduled to be executed on July 14 and I am deeply troubled that Georgia might proceed with this execution. Again, please urge your parole board to grant John Conner clemency. Thank you.

Governor Nathan Deal

Office of the Governor

203 State Capitol; Atlanta, GA 30334

Tel: 404-656-1776 

For more information, visit Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) at www.gfadp.org or contact Dorinda Tatum at 404-749-6889.

Join Us for Foster v. Chatman - A Case Study for Justice

posted Jul 6, 2016, 2:50 PM by GFADP staff

Many of you know that on May 23, the United States Supreme Court, in a 7-1 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, held that Georgia prosecutors discriminated in striking all of the Black prospective jurors to get an all-white jury in Timothy Foster's 1987 capital trial. Mr. Foster has been represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights for many years and this is a tremendous victory. In fact, the Southern Center's impact in Foster v. Chatman continues to make waves across the South as the U.S. Supreme Court just last month remanded death penalty cases in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi for further consideration of issues involving race discrimination in jury selection.

We thought you would like to know about an upcoming event, Foster v. Chatman - A Case Study for Justice, hosted by the Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society featuring SCHR’s Foster team. This event is free and open to the public. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Auditorium, State Bar of Georgia Conference Center
104 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

If you’d like to brush up on the case before the discussion, click here.

We look forward to seeing you on the 19th!

Take Action for John Conner

posted Jul 5, 2016, 11:57 AM by GFADP staff

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is holding a clemency hearing for John Conner on Wednesday, July 13 at 9:00am. He is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, July 14 at 7:00pm, unless the board intervenes. If his execution goes forward, he will be the sixth person executed this year.
 
Please take a moment to  sign the clemency petition urging the board to commute Mr. Conner’s sentence.
 
We are planning more actions, so please stay tuned.
 

Execution date scheduled for John Conner

posted Jul 5, 2016, 9:37 AM by GFADP staff

An execution date has been set for John Conner for July 14. We are checking in with his legal team and will be back in touch as soon as possible. 

If this execution goes forward, it will be the sixth one this year. Please stay tuned for how to take action. 


Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty Strategy Session, May 12, 2015

posted May 2, 2016, 2:00 PM by GFADP staff

Friends, 

We need your help. 

On March 27, 2016, the State of Georgia executed Daniel Lucas. His execution marks the fifth person executed this year. We must end this trend of violence that is plaguing our communities. We are powerful united in our efforts to abolish the death penalty in Georgia. Last week we organized a call-in to Governor Deal urging him to influence his parole board. We stood outside of Daniel's clemency hearing to show solidarity with Daniel, his family, and his legal team. There is more to be done. 

Please join Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty ( GFADP) as we strategize on what we can continue to do to bring attention to the fact that there are several more dates to come. 

When: May 12, 2016

Time: 6:30pm until 8:00pm

Location: 75 Marietta Street, 5th floor/ Suite 501, Atlanta, GA 30303 

We at GFADP look forward to hearing your input on May 12, 2016. If you are unable to attend, but would like to get involved go to our website at www.gfadp.org or contact Dorinda Tatum at 404-749-6889 or dtatum42@gmail.com. 

Dorinda on behalf of GFADP

Daniel Lucas

posted Apr 28, 2016, 12:55 PM by GFADP staff

Last night the State of Georgia executed Daniel Lucas. He was the fifth person executed this year. Y’all, it is only April. 

A very important piece of doing death penalty abolition work is lifting up the person executed and highlighting their full humanity. Daniel said it best when he wrote: “Some guys ask, “Why change when they are going to kill you?” But I think that if you become a better person, accomplish your goals, and leave something of yourself behind, you are showing that you are a person capable of change, good, and that there is hope even for the worst of people." 

Daniel started practicing Buddhism in 2010. Given this, we wanted to make sure that the vigils highlighted Daniel’s faith. There were Buddhist leaders present at the vigils at the Capitol and at Jackson. We learned that Daniel was thrilled to know that we were honoring that part of him. There was an international call to prayer for Daniel with monasteries all over the world praying for him. It was incredibly moving to learn that his body will be returned to the Shambhala Meditation Center in Decatur, where someone will be with his body 24 hours a day until his funeral on Saturday. 

One of the beautiful parts of the vigils is that people get an opportunity to share either personal experiences with the person and/or what they’ve learned about that person through others who knew them. This is one of the ways we honor that the person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done. We learned that Joshua Bishop, who was executed last month, and Daniel were very close friends and that in fact, before Josh was executed, he wrote a letter to the parole board on Daniel’s behalf. Josh described Daniel as the person you went to do feel grounded and as “a source of inspiration, for me, and many other guys on our cellblock…Daniel had the most impact on other men with the way [he] has chosen to live his life here.” 

We have the incredible opportunity of meeting new people at the vigils that for various reasons have been inspired to get involved. Some of those people included two high school acquaintances of Daniel’s and people who were incarcerated with Warren Hill and Brian Terrell who have continued to come back. I wanted to include a link to photos that were taken at the Jackson vigil. 

Last night was gut wrenching and painful. We extend our deepest sympathizes to Daniel’s family and friends. We are grateful for the incredible work of his legal team. One of his lawyers and his spiritual advisor witnessed Daniel’s execution. Please keep them in your thoughts.

Something that was highlighted for me last night was the incredible grace and compassion Daniel exhibited in his last words. He said: “To the Moss family, I’m sorry for Mrs. Moss. And to family and friends, I love them.” And then he recited a Buddhist prayer:  "All beings are basically good, all beings are basically kind, all beings are basically strong, all beings are basically wise.” 

Thank you all for everything that you do to highlight and end this barbaric practice that strips away at our humanity every time an execution moves forward. We are grateful for you and need you all now more than ever. We are expecting more warrants to be issued.

 

Onward and in solidarity,

Kathryn Hamoudah on behalf of GFADP 

Clemency denied for Daniel Lucas

posted Apr 26, 2016, 6:51 PM by GFADP staff

We're sorry to share that the parole board denied Daniel Lucas clemency. Please plan to attend a vigil near you on April 27: www.gfadp.org/vigils.

We will be traveling to various vigils across the state, so please check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates after 4:30 pm on 4/27. 

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