Dutton Jr., Harold V.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/25/2003
Dutton Announces "Day of Innocence"
Austin, TX -- On March 25, 2003, Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. (Houston), announces the first ever "Day of Innocence" in the State of Texas to recognize all exonerated individuals from across Texas and the nation.
Rep. Dutton will be joined by the Texas Moratorium Network, Association of Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Texas Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, StandDown Texas, and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. has introduced both a moratorium bill and a bill to abolish the death penalty in Texas. This is the second time that an abolition bill has been introduced in the Texas Legislature in recent history. Rep. Dutton stated:
"The increasing number of factually innocent persons who were previously found legally guilty should shake the conscience of all free people.
"There should be no disagreement that our justice system' inability to get at truth undermines public confidence and provides a drumbeat for a march toward anarchy. All reasonable and fairminded persons must act now to bring needed reforms to our justice system."
Barry Scheck, noted professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and Co-Founder of the world renowned Innocence Project, will be the keynote speaker.
Other speakers and platform guests will include former death row Chaplain Carroll Pickett, Joyce Ann Brown, Chris Ochoa, Clarence Brandley, Jeanette Popp, Ray Krone, the 100th nationally recognized exonerated person and many others.
Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, Texas has lead the nation with 299 executions, with the 300th scheduled on March 20. Texas executed 33 persons, which was almost one-half of all executions in the United States for the year 2002.
Clearly, Texas' use of the death machine should be halted while the much needed reforms are investigated, debated and implemented . To continued Texas' flawed system of justice while ignoring the cautions expressed recently by those closest to the process is unconscionable.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicole R. Bates, 512.463.7999