Bobby Wayne Woods - Abolition Times - December 2, 2009
Wed Dec 2, 2009 14:13

Objections Filed to Planned Illegal Execution of Mentally Retarded Man in Texas

Bobby Wayne Woods is a 44-year-old man who has an IQ of between 60 and 70, and is scheduled to be executed in Texas tomorrow, Thursday, December 3. Woods was convicted in 1998 of the murder of a young girl the previous year, but his original appellate attorney didn't properly introduce evidence of Woods' impaired mental capacity.

In fact, as noted in a brief Woods' legal team filed this week, that attorney "holds the honor of being one of only two people ever removed from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal's list of qualified capital habeas counsel. He has been reprimanded by the State Bar, and rebuked by and suspended from practice in the federal courts for his egregious missteps and incompetence as an appellate attorney."

We believe this execution would be in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2002 ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which disallows states from executing people with mental retardation. Woods' current attorney, University of Texas law professor Maurie Levin, yesterday was denied her request for a 60-day reprieve from the Pardons and Paroles Board to present a videotape of Woods, which would have demonstrated the impact of Woods' mentally disabilities on his behavior.

Thanks to all who took action by responding to our urgent appeal yesterday. Now, this case is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Professor Levin has filed a last appeal. More information about the case is here, and you can click here to see the compelling video footage of Woods, embedded in a Texas Observer article.

Witness to Innocence Sponsors Training for Death Row Exonerees
Witness to Innocence, an organization led by death row exonerees working to end capital punishment, recently held its fifth annual TOOLS (Training for Outreach, Organizing and Leadership) conference in Birmingham, Alabama. One of the largest gatherings of death row survivors ever, the event included recent exonerees Nathson Fields and Ron Kitchen (Illinois), Herman Lindsey (Florida), and Paul House and Michael McCormick (Tennessee). Click here to view a local Birmingham, Alabama television station's news report about the event.

The Thompson Case in Texas and the State's "Law of Parties"
Earlier this month, Robert Lee Thompson was executed in Texas for his involvement in the robbery of a store in Houston during which an accomplice killed a store clerk. The accomplice was sentenced to life in prison, while Thompson received the harsher sentence of death under Texas' "Law of Parties." An editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram calls on Texas' Legislature to address what it calls a "bad" and "misapplied" law. Read the editorial here.

Texas Forensic Science Commission Chair Orders Members to Delete E-mail Correspondence
"Efficiency" or "Conspiracy"? Texas Forensic Science Commission Chair John Bradley, through the panel's staff coordinator, Leigh Tomlin, has asked Commission members to send all of their correspondence on the Cameron Todd Willingham case to Tomlin. Additionally, Tomlin asked Commissioners to "delete all correspondence," but if they felt that something should be saved, the e-mail should be forwarded to Tomlin's office. Bradley claims the purpose of the first directive was to centralize information to make it easier to comply with news media requests. But another editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wonders about the second directive, as correspondence among members of a public body can be considered that body's public record, and therefore open to public scrutiny. Read the editorial here.

Upcoming Conferences and Conventions of Interest
Do you have an event coming up our readers might like to know about? Email

NCADP Annual Training Conference, January 14-17, 2010, Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky ( Friday's the last day for Early Bird registration! After Dec 4, registration returns to the regular rate. Save $50, and join luminaries like:

Martina Correia, Troy Davis' sister
Tony Amsterdam, who successfully argued the Furman case -Sister Helen Prejean
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip-Hop Caucus
Rev. Barry Lynn, Americans United
2010 Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Annual Conference
Seizing the Momentum: Building Capacity, Community, and Coalition
February 20, 2010, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas
Co-Sponsored by the Southern Methodist University Human Rights Education Program Conference information:

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Equal Justice USA
Witness to Innocence
ACLU Capital Punishment Project
Amnesty International
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
Murder Victims Families for Human Rights
Journey of Hope... From Violence to Healing
Catholic Mobilizing Network
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FEATURED: Objections Filed to Planned Illegal Execution of Mentally Retarded Man in Texas

Witness to Innocence Sponsors Training for Death Row Exonerees

The Thompson Case in Texas and the State's "Law of Parties"

Texas Forensic Science Commission Chair Orders Members to Delete E-mail Correspondence

Upcoming Conferences and Conventions of Interest

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