Texas executions break international law By Gloria Rubac Houston
Published Aug 14, 2008 11:10 PM In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Baze v. Rees that the three drugs used in lethal injections were okay, opening the door for executions to proceed after an eight-month hiatus. Since then, 18 people have been executed, 100 percent of them from the South, 33 percent of them in Texas, and all but one by lethal injection.
James Wood’s family and supporters rally at Alamo in San Antonio to protest his impending execution. WW photos: Gloria Rubac In the first week of August, Texas authorities drew international condemnation after executing two noncitizens who were denied access to their consulate in violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, signed by 165 countries including the U.S.
Mexican citizen José Medellín’s execution was put on hold for almost four hours on Aug. 5, while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed appeals. Protestors gathered in Huntsville during thunderstorms from Tropical Storm Edouard.
Chi’s mother and cousin just after the Honduran’s execution in Huntsville. The crowd grew during the five-hour delay and was joined by Heliberto Chi’s family, who carried signs, wore T-shirts with Chi’s photo on them, and spoke at the rally.
Medellín’s case garnered worldwide attention after the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered the U.S. to prevent the execution until a review of his case could be held.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a statement that “The Mexican government will continue insisting on the obligation of the United States to provide the review and reconsideration of the death sentence of other Mexican nationals.” (Houston Chronicle)
Demonstrations were held around Mexico, including a large one on the international bridge between McAllen, Texas, and Reynosa, Mexico.
Two days later, protesters again gathered in Huntsville, this time for the Aug. 7 execution of Chi, a Honduran citizen. Not only were Chi’s rights violated under the Vienna Convention, but also under a treaty signed directly between Honduras and the U.S., ironically named the Treaty for Friendship and Commerce.
Chi’s brother Hernan, in front of Huntsville, Texas, Death House. Chi’s brother Hernán spoke at the rally outside the death house, saying that the U.S. “is an imperial country that only cares about money, not Black people and Brown people and poor people. We are a poor people and here we have no rights.”
At 6:00 p.m. when the execution was to begin, 15 to 20 family members surrounded Mirna Chi, Heliberto’s mother. They stood with protesters during the execution.
Chi’s cousin Édgar witnessed the execution for the family and came out of the death house sobbing and then collapsed into the arms of the family. Through sobs he explained in Spanish to media from Mexico, Honduras and Latin America what had happened in the execution chamber. “He is at peace. He is with Jesus now. He said that he loved all of you.”
Relatives gathered to meet his returning coffin at a Honduran airport on Aug. 10 wearing T-shirts with Chi’s photo and the slogan, “For us and the people of Honduras, you will always live.”
Chi’s 17-year-old brother Germán told Workers World that their grandmother had taken ill in July and told the family she was going to die because she did not want to be alive when the U.S. took her grandson from her. He will be buried near his grandmother on Aug. 12 in the coastal city of San Pedro Sula.
Of the 3,300 people on death row in the U.S., 121 are foreign nationals from 33 countries. Fifty-five are from Mexico.
There are now 21 more executions scheduled in the U.S. and 14 of them are in Texas.
Capital punishment is falling out of favor with many in this country, as fewer people are being charged with capital murder and juries are sentencing fewer people to death. Due to over 125 innocent people being released from death row, many realize that the finality of an execution cannot be undone if a wrongful conviction is discovered.
Of the 14 executions Texas now has scheduled, several have serious legal issues.
Two men convicted under Texas’ controversial Law of Parties statute are scheduled to be executed within the same week: Michael Rodriguez on Aug. 14 and Jeff Wood on Aug. 21. Although neither was charged with being the actual murderer, they were both convicted and sentenced to die. Rodriguez has given up his appeals and is a volunteer.
Wood is fighting and has support from his large family as well as abolitionist organizations. On Aug. 2, they held a press conference and rally in San Antonio in the tourist area around the Alamo. Every television station as well as the daily paper covered the event. Hundreds of people in the park signed petitions for Wood.
The highlight of the day was Kids Against the Death Penalty, who wore their own T-shirts and had their own flyer for Wood. They spoke at the rally, attracting the attention of children and adults alike. After the rally, the KADP led an impromptu march around the Alamo.
The next rally for Wood is on Aug. 16 in Austin at the Texas Capitol. See www.savejeffwood.com.
Greg Wright had DNA testing of evidence found on a pair of jeans that showed they were not his jeans, and he passed a polygraph test. There is also a written confession from his codefendant, John Wade Adams, but the state of Texas has issued an execution date of September 9, 2008. See www.freegregwright.com.
Charles Hood is scheduled to die on Sept. 10. Hood’s lawyers allege that Texas state court Judge Verla Sue Holland had “a personal and direct interest in the outcome of the case” and was disqualified from trying the case under the Texas Constitution because of her ongoing affair with Hood’s prosecutor, Collin County District Attorney Tom O’Connell.
Reginald Perkins has a date for Jan. 22, 2009. According to the Coalition for Truth and Justice, “Perkins has a very low IQ and is mentally retarded. There was neglect and emotional and physical abuse of Perkins. He and his sibling were beaten by their mother and spent nights under the porch to avoid more beatings. His family lived in abject poverty. His mother never showed affection toward her kids and called Reginald ‘f***ing cross eyes.’ She told him many times she didn’t want him to be born and did everything she could think of to try to abort him.”
“With so many questionable legal situations and knowing that only the poor face execution, it is crucial that we intensify our efforts to abolish the death penalty,” stated Njeri Shakur, organizer with the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement. “George Bush is a mass murderer but he is not on death row, so the arguments that the death penalty is only for the ‘worse of the worse’ is a fallacy. It is for the poor and oppressed.”
Those Who Are About to Die Your Texas death machine gets rolling once again By Jordan Smith A Nation of Laws? Scheduled for Execution Aug. 5: José Medellín There is no doubt that the crime for which... more
Critics have argued that Texas' use of the law of parties unconstitutionally broadens the field of death-eligible defendants; the death penalty, they argue, should be reserved for the most culpable... more
Honduras seeks to block citizen's US execution The Associated Press Wednesday, August 6, 2008 TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras: The Honduran government says it is lobbying U.S. authorities to stop Thursday's... more
Court clears way for another immigrant's execution By MICHAEL GRACZYK – 2 hours ago HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — An illegal immigrant from Honduras who claimed his treaty rights were violated when he was ... more
UPDATE: Execution of Honduran allowed Thursday, August 7th, 2008 1:24 pm | Lyle Denniston | UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Without recorded dissent, the Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon refused to delay the... more
Texas executes Honduran immigrant after Supreme Court decides in its favor By MICHAEL GRACZYK | Associated Press Writer 7:11 PM CDT, August 7, 2008 HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ An illegal immigrant from... more
Fellow Abolitionists, Tonight, Texas again did the unthinkable---it ignored the international law that guarantees someone arrested in a foreign country the right to see a representative of their... more
Texas Executes a Mexican Citizen Despite a Breach of the Vienna Convention: A Decision that Undermines America's International Standing and Commitment to the Rule of Law By EDWARD LAZARUS Thursday,... more
Media Advisory For immediate release: July 29, 2008 Contacts: Terri Been B.S., M. Ed, Sister of Jeff Wood firstname.lastname@example.org 254-371-5650 Scott Cobb, President Texas Moratorium Network 512-689-1544... more
My husband, Jeff Wood, is on Texas Death Row. He is sentenced for a crime that happened back in 1996. He did NOT kill anyone though. He was actually outside of the place where it all happened. He was ... more
Texas v Jeffery Wood http://www.texasdefender.org/index.asp The Texas Defender Service, along with attorney Scott Sullivan, has filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles... more
Jeff Wood was a pissant criminal boob, and the world is better off without him. If he had chosen to get a job instead of putting himself voluntarily in a criminal undertaking, he would never have... more
I am with you on this one! What I want to know is how come these people who fight against the death penalty are so naive to really believe stories of death row inmates? They did not get on death row... more
The cousin of Kris Keeran (the murder victim) wants to save the life of Jeff Wood: "My cousin was the person killed by Danny, not Jeff. I say this as a family member who realized long ago Jeff had no ... more
I am sorry for your loss Amanda. But I am a bit confused about this statement posted by Jeff's sister in an article: "At no point in time did Jeff ever plan to kill anybody. Jeff was threatened by... more
I cannot belive I have never seen this post before now. Kriss is also a 1st cousin of mine and I think they were both responsible. Jeff is just as guilty as Daniel because he assisted in the robbery. ... more
What is the Law of Parties? Penal Code: 1.02 Objectives of Code (1) to insure the public safety through: B. the rehabilitation of thise convicted of violations of this code; and C. such punishment as ... more
PARTIES AND THE US SUPREME COURT The US Supreme Court held that imposition of the death penalty on a person who aids and abets a felony in the course of which a murder is committed by others but who... more
Texas Man Who Didn't Kill to Will Be Executed Jeff Wood Didn't Kill Kris Keeran, but He Is Set to Be Executed for Keeran's Death By SCOTT MICHELS Aug. 8, 2008 — Texas is scheduled to put a man to... more
Wood seeks reprieve By Caleb Chapman The Daily Times Published August 9, 2008 Jeffery Lee Wood does not deserve to die. That’s the plea made in an application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole ... more
Friends-- Here is the letter than Ramsey promised me he would write for Jeff. I think it is very good, very persuasive. I had to get a box of Kleenex when I read it because Ramsey mentions the case... more
RAMSEY CLARK LAWRENCE W. SCHILLING 37 WEST 12TH STREET NEW YORK, N.Y. 10011 212-989-6613 212-979-1583 FAX August 12, 2008 The Honorable Rick Perry Governor, State of Texas State Capitol, Room 2S.I... more
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Mike Farrell Writes Letter Asking for Clemency for Jeff Wood From: Mike Farrell August 11, 2008 Ms. Rissie Owens, Chair Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles 8610 Shoal Creek... more
Should murder accomplices face execution? By John Gramlich, Stateline.org Staff Writer An execution last month in Mississippi and another scheduled for this month in Texas have reignited a debate... more
Defense Lawyers Try to Halt Execution By Jordan Smith Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1976, only six people have been executed for a murder in which they did not directly participate,... more
Death and Texas Governor Rick Perry and his state's flawed judicial system are now executing convicts for crimes they did not Maura Kelly guardian.co.uk, Thursday August 14 2008 18:30 BST Texans - or ... more
Sanders: Another execution is scheduled under flawed law-of-parties provision By BOB RAY SANDERS email@example.com August 17, 2008 Make a note of this name: Jeffery Lee Wood. And this date:... more
Abolition Movement Members and Friends, I just got a call from Kristin Wood and she said to let you know that the meeting with the chair of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Rissie Owens, went... more
Texas Death Row: Where Innocence is Irrelevant On August 21, Texas will execute Jeff Wood for the murder of Kris Keeran, even though there is a consensus that Wood did not murder, intend to murder,... more
Editor's note: Please contact Gov. Perry and asked him to grant clemency for Jeff Wood ! Mailing Address Office of the Governor P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711-2428 Delivery Address Office of the... more
Parole board rejects clemency for non-triggerman 05:34 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 Associated Press HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday rejected a clemency... more
Stop the Execution: Jeff Wood Faces Death Tomorrow for a Murder He Didn't Commit By Liliana Segura, AlterNet Posted on August 20, 2008, Printed on August 20, 2008 http://www.alternet.org/story/95690/ ... more
IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS NO. AP-75,970 JEFFERY LEE WOOD, Appellant v. THE STATE OF TEXAS ON MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND REQUEST FOR PREPAYMENT OF FUNDS TO RETAIN MENTAL... more
Thursday, Aug 21, 2008 Posted on Thu, Aug. 21, 2008 Federal judge delays execution of condemned inmate By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press Writer A federal judge on Thursday delayed the execution of a ... more
Federal Judge, Chastising the Texas Courts, Orders a Stay of Execution By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. HOUSTON — With only hours until his scheduled execution, a man won a stay Thursday when a federal judge ... more
Condemned prisoner loses appeal A Texas death row inmate who came within hours of execution last summer has lost an appeal in a federal appeals court where his lawyers argued he's too mentally ill to ... more