On Monday, Arkansas officials planned to start an assembly line of executions – 8 in 10 days. After dozens of court challenges and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first two executions were halted.
But the state still hopes to carry out up to 5 executions before the end of next week, in order to use its supply of a controversial execution drug, Midazolam, before it expires at the end of April.
With legal challenges coming from all sides, the situation is changing by the minute. As it currently stands, all executions – including two originally scheduled for tonight – are on hold. But all of that could change, and the state is preparing the two men originally scheduled for execution tonight as if their executions will go forward. Both men have been denied DNA testing that could prove their innocence.
On April 11, we released a letter that has received national attention. It was signed by 25 notable Virginia conservatives calling on Virginia Governor McAuliffe to halt the planned execution of Ivan Teleguz. His execution is scheduled for April 25, despite a complete lack of physical evidence and the fact that two of the three witnesses who originally linked him to the crime have since recanted their testimony. The third witness had incentive to lie because he received a lighter sentence in exchange for testifying against Teleguz.
Considering all of this, there is simply too much doubt to execute Teleguz, and there is reason to believe that he may actually be an innocent man. Thus, pro-life conservatives in Virginia signed the letter respectfully asking Gov. McAuliffe to commute Teleguz’s sentence. You can read it in its entirety and see the signatories here.
In these politically divisive times, EJUSA is as committed as ever to standing together with our partners to fight the death penalty and advance justice and healing.
There is tremendous strength in working together. I know this because of you. Your passion, your persistence, your unwavering partnership with EJUSA has made me – and everyone at EJUSA – stronger.
We’re a strong team. And like all strong teams, we keep our eyes on the prize and never, ever rest on our laurels. We can’t. Too many lives are at stake, and too many communities need our help.
The first was a panel of crime survivors at Common Justice’s conference, “Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.” EJUSA was honored to get a shout on for our long history working with crime survivors during the conference’s opening remarks. Then our Trauma Advocacy Initiative Director, Fatimah Loren Muhammad, moderated the panel on survivor-centered responses to violence.
Survivor-leaders from across the country shared their experiences and perspectives on how the current reliance on incarceration fails crime survivors and their communities. Fatimah and the other speakers emphasized that effective responses to violence must focus on addressing trauma and helping survivors heal.
Yesterday was quite a whirlwind.
The day started early with preparations for the rally and petition delivery at the Arkansas State Capitol and ended late in the evening with the announcement that all of the scheduled #8in10 executions had been put on hold.
I spent the morning with our coalition partners, preparing over 150,000 petition signatures for delivery. (Did you know that it takes over 10,000 pieces of paper to print out over 150,000 signatures?) Then we gathered – in fellowship and in a show of strength – on the stairs of the Arkansas Capitol, proclaiming that the death penalty is broken and needs to end. Continue Reading →
Local and national civil rights and racial justice leaders signed a letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, calling on him to halt the series of executions scheduled in the coming weeks. EJUSA Campaign Strategist Mona Cadena was on hand at the Capitol to deliver the letter (left), which outlined the concerns the group has with the death penalty’s racial bias and its disproportionate effect on communities of color.
“Racial bias in the criminal justice system, including the death penalty and its application, is undisputed,” the letter says. “From slavery to Jim Crow to the present day, the death penalty has long been a tool of injustice and discrimination in the USA and the State of Arkansas.”
Continue Reading →
As I write this, Arkansas is planning to carry out eight executions over ten days starting next week. The state plans to execute so many people so rapidly in order to use up nearly-expired (and dangerous) execution drugs.
EJUSA is standing strong against this extreme move, which goes against the national trend toward repeal. Thanks to you, EJUSA’s expert organizers are providing strategic assistance to our partners in Arkansas, and we are mobilizing diverse voices to speak out against this atrocity across the country.
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