Greetings, my fellow Death Row (D/R) prisoners.
Most of you only know
me from the birthday cards that I and others send out each month to all
I trust that those cards brighten your day in a place where
there isn't many bright spots to speak of, as of late.
Certainly this is
a very trying time here in Texas for D/R prisoners.
I mean, Texas is carrying
out executions with a clarity! (prompt and eager readiness) and what is
so troublesome about this is most Texans seem to have numbed at the pace,
they are so commonplace that they just about proceed unnoticed, like the
space-shuttle. Remember when that used to be a big deal?
And any press
account would get as much space as needed?
Here's a good example: Most of
the old-timers knew Terry Washington and it was common knowledge on the
Row that Terry was mentally retarded and was suffering from the effects
of fetal alcohol syndrome and childhood violence, substance abuse, and
poverty as bad as you'll find.
Unfortunately, Terry was the 31st mentally
retarded prisoner executed in this nation in the past 20 years, according
to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Terry did receive a small group
gathering on the evening of May 6 to protest his execution, but Terry's
death passed with just a small amount of press coverage on his case, the
little attention he received was by a news conference held by Capacity
for Justice, an advocacy group for people with disabilities.
was a time I was naive with hope that the mentally retarded prisoners could
have been common ground over the death penalty that both sides "for"
and "against" could agree to draw a line at the execution of
the mentally retarded, and perhaps a ban on all executions.
As for Terry,
being a mentally retarded man was unpardonable.
He was turned down by Governor
George W. Bush.
And the State Board of Pardon and Paroles rejected a request
for a stay or reprieve from Terry's attorneys, as did the U.S. Supreme
Our state lawmakers have worked really hard to see that death row
prisoners are executed fast, and the fruits of the 1995 habeas changes
The Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Terry's habeas petition
because it didn't meet the 1995 law's requirements that a successive writ
contain evidence that was factually unavailable when the first was filed.
I have been watching the law advance sheets (court decisions) for over
four years now.
I saw it coming, no matter what may or may not happen here
in Texas, the next couple of years are going to see lots of executions being carried out.
I most recently read a news article and it mentioned
the state tourist slogan which is usually advertised on CNN News Network,
and it said it would work just as well for the state's criminal justice
system: "Texas", the slogan goes,
"it's like a whole other
Keep the faith as we continue to fight this very unfair