Help Move GFADP Boldly into 2017

posted Dec 5, 2016, 10:43 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Dec 5, 2016, 10:43 AM ]

Dear Friends,

As I think about what I’d like to tell you about this past year in the movement to end the death penalty in Georgia, and what to expect going forward, I keep coming back to one particular moment. 

It was the morning of April 26, 2016, and a van-load of people related to Daniel Lucas pulled up next to the Sloppy Floyd Building in Atlanta.  They had come to plead with the five men on the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole to spare Daniel’s life on the eve of his scheduled execution, and they were filled with anxiety and dread. 

As the family members spilled out of the van onto the sidewalk, they noticed that they were surrounded by a group of people from Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP), holding signs that read, “Stop the Execution of Daniel Lucas,” “Clemency for Daniel Lucas,” and “Not In My Name.”  I, along with the other sign holders, offered warm hugs and reassurance to Daniel’s family members as they walked to the clemency hearing.  Later, Daniel’s mother said that seeing those people from GFADP, and knowing they did not want her son to die, gave her the strength she needed to testify before the parole board that day.

Looking back over a devastating year that brought eight executions to Georgia – a state record – it’s moments like that one with Daniel Lucas’s family that keep me going.  GFADP assumes the essential role of the organizer and disseminator of the stories that encompass capital punishment in our state, and those moments remind us that our efforts are making a difference, in both small and tremendous ways, for individuals and for our community at large. 

There are so many ways that we are chipping away at the death penalty and its attendant harm, and inching us ever closer to abolition.  For the second year in a row, there have been no new death sentences handed down in Georgia despite the ongoing presence of a small handful of district attorneys who insist on seeking the death penalty in their counties.  Juries are clearly becoming increasingly uncomfortable with capital punishment, and knowing the stories of those involved in capital crimes has no doubt fed their reluctance to issue the ultimate penalty.

Sadly, we will end 2016 in Georgia with the distinction of being one of only four states that is continuing to carry out executions even though both state and national death penalty trends have shown a significant downturn.  This is not the Georgia I want to live in.  This is not the sort of attention I want this state to receive.  Like you, I want to live in a state that is known for its humanitarian initiatives and not for its skill in carrying out executions without a hitch. 

So how do we get there, to a place where the death penalty is no longer an option in Georgia?  It starts with you and your support.  GFADP has been able to sustain efforts to end the death penalty in Georgia through individual contributions, and we ask for your support through a donation today.

GFADP is uniquely positioned to continue our statewide organizing efforts, reaching across faith communities and political identities to find common ground.  These are just some of the plans we have for the coming year:

•  in partnership with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the re-introduction of our bill in the 2017 Legislative Session to change Georgia’s extreme “beyond a reasonable doubt” law to ensure that people with intellectual disability are protected from execution in our state.

•  development and implementation of a campaign to facilitate the introduction of a death penalty repeal bill in the 2018 Legislative Session; 

•  a new membership program that will engage members across the state at various levels, according to their skills and interests;

•  continued resistance to unfair policies and practices directed at those on death row and their families; 

•  ongoing presence on social media and at rallies and vigils, raising awareness about specific issues and cases, and keeping the poignant and heartbreaking stories of those impacted by the death penalty at the forefront of people’s minds.

I come to you now, along with Sam Gonzales and Kimberly Jackson, as the newly elected leaders of GFADP’s Board of Directors, and we are so excited to be working with you and on behalf of our statewide coalition. 


We remain confident that together we will abolish the death penalty.

With hope and gratitude,

Mary Catherine Johnson, Co-chair
With Sam Gonzales, Co-chair and Kimberly Jackson, Vice Chair

GFADP Board of Directors
Mary Catherine Johnson, Co-chair; Sam Gonzales, Co-chair; Kimberly Jackson, Vice Chair;
Peggy Hendrix, Secretary; Em McNair, Treasurer; Suzanne Hobby-Shippen; 
Brenna McEowen; Bill Moon; and Kathryn Hamoudah, Emeritus


Execution date set for William Sallie

posted Nov 18, 2016, 11:33 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

As you know, Georgia executed Steven Spears on Wednesday. This makes the 8th execution this year. 
 
Georgia now surpasses Texas in the number of executions this year. 
 
This is absolutely not a distinction that we want for Georgia. 
 
One of the things that is so maddening about this is that these executions do not reflect the opinion on the death penalty of many Georgians. There have not been any new death sentences in our state in two years. This is in line with the rest of the country; death sentences are down and states are repealing the death penalty.  
 
After each execution, we send out a note telling you all how much we need you to join us in our fight to end the death penalty. This has never been more true. 

An execution date has been set for William Sallie for December 6 at 7pm.

Please stay tuned for updates.

Clemency Denied for Steven Spears

posted Nov 16, 2016, 11:06 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

We're sorry to share the the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency for Steven Spears. Given that Mr. Spears voluntarily gave up his right to appeal, the only intervention at this point is if he chooses to pursue his appeals. Please plan to attend a vigil near you: http://www.gfadp.org/vigils

Press Conference Cancelled

posted Nov 14, 2016, 11:28 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

The press conference scheduled for tomorrow, (11/15) is cancelled; however, we will release a statement on Wednesday.

Please plan to attend a vigil near you on Wednesday: http://www.gfadp.org/vigils

We're expecting another date in December, so please stay tuned.

PRESS ADVISORY: Georgians Call for a Halt to Executions on the Eve of the 8th Execution in 2016

posted Nov 8, 2016, 9:00 AM by GFADP staff   [ updated Nov 8, 2016, 11:35 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah ]

Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

PRESS ADVISORY- Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Media Contact: Kathryn Hamoudah 404-688-1202 (office) or 404-819-4233 (cell), khamoudah@schr.org            

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Georgians Call for a Halt to Executions on the Eve of the 8th Execution in 2016

ATLANTA, GA – To date, there have been 17 executions in 2016 across the US. Seven of the 17 have been carried out in Georgia. On November 15, 2016, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) will hold a press conference to call for a halt to executions in our state. The event will take place on the eve of what is scheduled to mark the 8th execution in Georgia in 2016.

Georgia is currently one of only four states in 2016 that is continuing to carry out executions even though both state and national death penalty trends have shown a significant downturn.  Georgia hasn’t sentenced anyone to death in over two years and prosecutors here are rarely seeking death sentences. However, Georgia’s execution numbers are surging upward.  2016 already marks the highest number of executions carried out than in any previous calendar year since executions resumed in 1976.  This onslaught of executions at a time when Georgia and the rest of the nation are moving away from the death penalty is an embarrassment to Georgians and a tragic reversal of progress towards respect for human rights.

 

Governor Deal has dedicated his tenure as governor to studying the criminal justice system and implementing measures that bring equity and fairness. The death penalty is the most extreme consequence of the criminal justice system. The system of capital punishment is broken beyond repair, and 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.  Georgians from across the state are gathering to speak out against these profound injustices and implore Governor Deal to institute a moratorium on the death penalty, allowing for the study of its flaws and implementation of needed reforms.”

 

When:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 10:00 AM

Where:

Liberty Plaza, behind the State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334

Who:

Kayla Gissendaner, daughter of Kelly Gissendaner who was executed in September 2015

Prominent Faith Leaders

Civil Rights Leaders

Georgians from across the state


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.

 

###

8th Execution in Georgia scheduled for November 16

posted Oct 28, 2016, 6:54 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

There have been 17 executions so far in 2016 across the US. As you know, seven of them were in Georgia. We're very sorry to share that the eighth has been scheduled for November 16 for Stephen Spears. Please stay tuned for more information.

-GFADP

Georgia schedules execution of man who killed ex-girlfriend in 2001

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
3:07 p.m Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016  Metro Atlanta / State news


A week after carrying out the state’s seventh execution of the year, Georgia has scheduled another man to die.
Steven Frederick Spears is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Sherri Holland, in 2001 in Lumpkin County.
According to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Spears, 54, is not appealing his conviction or death sentence. He will be the eighth person to die by lethal injection in Georgia if his execution is not stopped.
At 11:49 p.m. on Wednesday last week, Gregory Lawler was put to death.
With Lawler’s lethal injection, no other state except Texas has carried out as many as seven executions since Jan. 1. This year Georgia also has carried out a record number of executions for any given year since the death penalty was reinstated nationwide in 1976.
 

Clemency Denied for Gregory Lawler

posted Oct 18, 2016, 8:36 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah   [ updated Oct 18, 2016, 8:50 PM ]

We're very sorry to share that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Gregory Lawler's clemency petition. We've included an NBC News article as well. Unless there is court intervention, Gregory's execution will go forward tomorrow,Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00pm. Please plan to attend a vigil near you. For a full list, click here. 


-GFADP

Join us for GFADP's Annual Statewide Meeting, Saturday, October 22

posted Oct 5, 2016, 9:10 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Georgia has executed six people so far this year. There is an execution date set for Gregory Lawler for October 19.

There could potentially another date this year. If ever there were a time to do something, now is it. 

We know that the only way to stop the madness is abolition of the death penalty. 

Join us for our annual statewide meeting on Saturday, October 22 at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA from 10-2. 

Please take a moment to register by October 19, so we can have an accurate count for food: https://goo.gl/forms/YRRoaahjuZfezSIy1. 

With hope,

GFADP



Execution date set for Gregory Lawler

posted Oct 5, 2016, 7:55 PM by Kathryn Hamoudah

We're sorry to share that an execution date has been scheduled for Gregory Lawler for October 19

Below is the AJC article. 
 
We've learned that there could potentially be one more date this year.
 
We will circulate more information as we receive it.
 
-GFADP
 
 

Execution warrant signed for Atlanta cop killer

 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1:45 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016  
A warrant was signed Wednesday setting the execution of cop killer Gregory Lawler for any time during the seven days starting withOct. 19.
Lawler was sentenced to die for murdering Atlanta police officer John Sowa and critically wounding his partner, Patricia Cocciolone, on Oct. 12, 1997, moments after the two officers had brought home Lawler’s intoxicated girlfriend.
If Lawler is put to death, he will be the seventh person Georgia has executed this year, more than any other year since capital punishment was reinstated in the mid 1970s.
The Department of Corrections sets the specific date and time that the execution will be carried out. Traditionally, it is set for 7 p.m. on the first day of the seven-day window noted in the execution warrant.

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.

 

 

 

1-10 of 277