Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Fighting the death penalty in Texas

I have a soft spot for abolitionists' efforts in Texas. After all, it is my home state! So I was heartened to see that the Texas Democratic Party, for what I think is the first time, has called for a moratorium on the death penalty in its party platform.

The introductory paragraph reads:

When capital punishment is used, the people must be assured that it is fairly administered. The Texas death penalty system has been severely criticized by major Texas newspapers, religious leaders, and the appellate courts. On May 18, 2004, Governor Perry even refused a 5-1 recommendation made by his Republican appointees to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who asked him to commute the death sentence of a person with mental illness to life in prison. Texas Democrats extend our deepest sympathies to all victims of crime and especially to the family members of murder victims, and we strongly support their rights. We believe reforms will improve the administration of justice in Texas to protect the innocent and bring the guilty to justice.

I understand that Scott Cobb of the Texas Moratorium Network helped make this happen, and was helped by a lot of other folks. If you want to read the whole thing, go here. But be warned: you have to scroll way, way down and through a page or two.

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