Skip to main content

Death Penalty

Statement by C. T. Weber on the Execution of Troy Davis

Tonight was a lonely one. I had just heard the United States Supreme Court could find no constitutional ground to stop the execution of Troy Davis when I got a call and was told that the ACLU was going to call a last minute vigil in front of the state Capitol in Sacramento, California. A friend of mine, Walter Rice called and said that the State of Georgia was going to execute Troy Davis. I told him I was going to the Capitol to join a couple friends and asked him to meet us there. As it turned out there were only four of us, Debra Reiger, Daniel Costa, Walter and myself. We held our candles and talked about the death penalty and its misuse in America.

I want to extend condolences to the Davis family. I am also saddened by the loss of the murdered police officer so many years ago which lead to the conviction of Troy Davis. However, I have been convinced that Troy Davis did not commit this or any other murder. It is one more reason why this barbaric ritual must be abolished. Too many innocent people have been executed by state governments. But even if it were only one innocent person that was executed that would be one too many. In fact, state murder of anyone, innocent or guilty, is dead wrong and must be forever abolished.

The Whole World is Watching

Troy Davis Execution Delayed, Awaiting Decision From Supreme Court

    The prison has temporarily delayed the execution, awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
    Sara Totonchi of the Southern Center for Human Rights confirms the prison has temporarily delayed the execution while awaiting word from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether they can proceed with the execution tonight.

Tomorrow, Georgia Murders Troy Davis

Dave Zirin on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 10:22

It's with shock that I report that the George Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis. The 42-year-old Davis is now due to be executed tomorrow, Wednesday September 21st, at 7pm. For those unfamiliar with the case, let's be clear: Davis's execution is little more than a legal lynching. This is a demonstrably innocent man that the state is about to execute in the premeditated manner of a murder.

The facts speak for themselves. Back in 1989, nine people testified that they saw Troy Davis kill Officer Mark MacPhail. Since that time, seven have recanted their testimony. Please allow me to repeat: of the nine people who testified that Troy killed Officer Mark MacPhail, seven have recanted their testimony. Beyond the eyewitnesses, there was no physical evidence linking Troy to Officer MacPhail's murder. None. Three jurors have signed affidavits saying that if they had all the information about Troy, they would not have voted to convict. One juror even arrived in person to the Board of Pardons and Paroles to say to their faces that she would not have voted to convict if she’d had the facts. Another woman has even come forward to say that a different man on the scene that night, Sylvester "Redd" Coles, bragged afterward about doing the shooting. Of the two witnesses who still maintain that Troy was the triggerman, one is Sylvester "Redd" Coles.

The New Jim Crow: American Social Justice Tour

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 6:30pm

"The New Jim Crow: American Social Justice Tour" Featuring Professor Michelle Alexander

Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 6:30PM-8:00PM

Women's Civic Improvement Center, 3555 3rd Avenue, Sacramento, CA

A longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, Michelle Alexander won a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, and subsequently directed the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor. Alexander is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the US Supreme Court and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. The New Jim Crow is her first book. [The following event is free admission to the public.]

March 11, 2010 DemocracyNow interview below

The New Jim Crow

A Conversation on the Death Penalty

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 7:00pm

The Progressive Democrats of South Placer Present
A Conversation on the Death Penalty

Monday, April 5th Program: 7pm
Rocklin Library
5460 5th Street
Rocklin, CA 95677-2547
More info: 916-730-2489
Free and open to the public.

Nancy Oliveira has traveled to several states and countries to speak out about the death penalty. She is the author of Writing Wrongs, a booklet which teaches in-dividuals how to harness the power of the press to work for social justice. She is also the former president of the San Francisco Chapter of Death Penalty Focus. On any given day, you will find Nancy's powerful words in print in newspapers around the nation.

Wellstone Progressive Dems CDP Platform Meeting

Building a Progressive California Democratic Party Platform

The Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento (PDA) held a meeting on Saturday, Jan. 9th to discuss improvements to the CA Democratic Party (CDP) Platform. All area Progressive Democrats were invited by Wellstone President Tamie Dramer and Political Affairs Chair Chris Niehaus to help shape the Party's Platform. CDP Platform Committee member Christine Thomas started off with a brief overview of the committee. CDP Progressive Caucus Chair (and PDA NorCal co-coordinator) Karen Bernal spoke about the need for Progressives in California to change the Party and how we can use our numbers to improve our platform. The room overflowed with attendees that took on issues such as Health Care, the Environment, Energy, Labor, Economic Justice, Poverty Elimination, Education & Criminal Justice.

Need to Trim Corrections Spending, Governor? Stop Wasting Money on the Death Penalty!

Need to Trim Corrections Spending, Governor? Stop Wasting Money on the Death Penalty!
Created 01/11/2010 - 1:27pm
By Natasha Minsker

If Gov. Schwarzenegger thinks he can cut $3.5 billion from state spending on corrections, he is being unrealistic and impractical.

In his state of the state address Wednesday, Gov. Schwarzenegger promised to restore the California dream by increasing funds for education and cutting funds for prisons in the budget proposal he releases today. That’s a great theory. But his only real proposal is to outsource prison administration to private companies. The state’s powerful prison guards’ union will ensure that plan fails. Meanwhile, the governor continues to slash education, health care, and other vital services.

So let’s consider something the governor can actually do right now to make a serious dent in the corrections budget: convert all 700 death sentences in California to permanent imprisonment saving the state $1 billion over the next five years.

Capitol Awards Banquet honoring Christine Thomas

Fri, 03/26/2010 - 5:30pm

It's my pleasure to invite you to Sacramento's 3rd Capitol Awards Banquet on Friday, March 26, 2010, in support of Death Penalty Focus and the Friends Committee on Legislation of California. It will be an evening you won't want to miss.

Friday, March 26

VIP Reception  5:30pm
Dinner  6:00pm

The Doubletree Hotel

2001 Point West Way
Sacramento, CA

*Featuring Death Penalty Focus President, Mike Farrell*



1-3 PM

Quin Denvir is a former state and federal
Public Defender and CRLA attorney. There
is no charge for the lecture.

'Canned assurances' from DAs - LTE

"Canned assurances' from DAs

Re "When DAs seek death penalty, it's clear why" (Another View, July 19): California's death penalty is a multibillion-dollar failure. Evidence clearly indicates that it is an ineffective deterrent to crime. Its continued operation squanders public resources that could be better spent on unsolved homicides and other public safety needs. Further, prosecutorial decisions to seek the death penalty diverge widely among counties.

"The Empty Chair: Death Penalty Yes or No" film screening

Film Screening of The Empty Chair: Death Penalty Yes or No
July 16, 2009 - FREE Admission!

The Empty Chair: Death Penalty Yes or No is a documentary film that tells the stories of four families confronting the loss of loved ones and voicing different perspectives on the death penalty. The movie also features Sister Helen Prejean, an author and spiritual advisor to those condemned to die, and Donald Cabana, a former death row warden in Mississippi.

Film will be followed by Discussion.

Sierra II Community Center, Curtis Hall and Courtyard,
2790 24th Street, Sacramento, CA
Free Parking is available.

Ice cream, light food & refreshments will be served.

"At the Death House Door" FREE screening

Please join us for a free screening of
At the Death House Door

Monday, May 11 - 6:30pm
Newman Catholic Center
5900 Newman Ct. Sacramento, CA 95819
Q&A to follow film screening.
Coffee & cookies provided! ♦ Free parking available!

At the Death House Door is a personal intimate look at the death penalty in the
state of Texas through the eyes of Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years
as the death house chaplain and accompanied 95 men to their executions.
"An impassioned portrait of a quest for truth." - Chicago Tribune

Governor Bill Richardson Signs Repeal of the Death Penalty

We did it! Gov. Richardson of New Mexico just signed the bill to repeal the Death Penalty in his state.

Thank you for those of you that made calls and sent emails.

Please send him another email to thank him for doing the right thing!


Governor Bill Richardson Signs Repeal of the Death Penalty

March 18, 2009
Gilbert Gallegos 505.476.2217

SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson today signed House Bill 285, Repeal of the Death Penalty. The Governor’s remarks follow:

Today marks the end of a long, personal journey for me and the issue of the death penalty.

Throughout my adult life, I have been a firm believer in the death penalty as a just punishment – in very rare instances, and only for the most heinous crimes. I still believe that.

Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams 1953-2005

Movie Trailer

    This 66-minute film--TRIBUTE: Stanley Tookie Williams, 1953-2005--is a powerful documentary that examines death row prisoner, Crips gang co-founder, children's book author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stanley Tookie Williams. The international campaign for clemency to save him from death by lethal injection ended on December 13, 2005, at 12:35 a.m., when he was pronounced dead after clemency was denied by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. TRIBUTE includes scenes from a staged reenactment of that execution. The reenactment--as well as TRIBUTE--were produced and directed by writer Barbara Becnel and producer Shirley Neal, longtime friends of Stanley Tookie Williams. It was based on their real-life experience at San Quentin's death chamber witnessing his botched execution--it took him 35 minutes to die. The two women filmed the staged reenactment, enabling TRIBUTE to offer a very intimate view of capital punishment. 'We created and staged a play that replicated the execution because we wanted people to see exactly what the State of California does in the middle of the night in the name of the people of the State of California,' explains Barbara Becnel. TRIBUTE includes provocative eulogies by Snoop Dogg, Tony Robbins and Louis Farrakhan--speaking at the memorial service of Stanley Tookie Williams--and never-before-seen footage of his ashes scattered by Becnel and Neal in Soweto, South Africa. This was his last wish.

February 13, 2009
Sacramento State University
Union - Hinde Auditorium
Movie Short @ 6:45 p.m.
Event Feature: 7:00 p.m.
Followed with discussion [Q&A] led by Barbara Becnel
8:40 p.m. clear the auditorium
Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams, 1953-2005
Produced by: Barbara Becnel, Shirley Neal 2008

Study: 70% of all California death penalty prosecutions have been found to be in error and new trials ordered

Editorial: A dysfunctional death penalty serves no one

Study shows that California's capital cases are plagued by problems and errors

Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, July 6, 2008

Story appeared in FORUM section, Page E6

    Proponents and opponents of the death penalty should all be able to agree with the chief finding of the Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice: As it is administered in California, the death penalty is dysfunctional. It is an expensive and frustrating judicial exercise that satisfies no one, not defendants, victims' families, taxpayers nor the justice system itself.

    Only 13 people in California have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. With 673 condemned prisoners awaiting execution, California has the largest death row of any state in the country, but convicts are much more likely to die while awaiting appeals than to be executed.

    For the very few who are put to death, it takes on average 17.2 years to carry out an execution after a death penalty has been pronounced, the longest wait of any death penalty state in the nation. Those condemned wrongfully can wait more than a decade to have their cases reviewed. Since 1978, the federal courts have ordered new trials in 38 of 54 death penalty appeals in California, an unacceptable 70 percent error rate.