Thank NC Gov. McCrory for the Pardons PDF Print E-mail

  NC Gov. Pardons McCollum and Brown


Thank Him - And Call for No More Executions

RALEIGH – Today, NC Gov. Pat McCrory pardoned Henry McCollum and Leon Brown. These are the first pardons of people exonerated from North Carolina's death row in the modern era.

Last September Henry and Leon were exonerated for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in 1984. At the time of his release Henry was the longest-serving prisoner on North Carolina’s death row. Leon spent five years on death row and then a quarter-century in prison for the same crime.

Henry and Leon are the eighth and ninth exonerees from North Carolina’s lethally flawed death penalty system.

Let us thank Gov. McCrory. Send an email message to the governor via here http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/email-pat or contact the governor by mail, fax, or telephone:

     Gov. Pat McCrory
     Office of the Governor
     20301 Mail Service Center
     Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
     Phone: (919) 814-2000
     Fax: (919) 733-2120

While we thank Gov. McCrory, at the very least the next step for Gov. McCrory is to place an immediate moratorium on executions in North Carolina. The only solution to these atrocities is to repeal the death penalty.

Though innocent, Henry and Leon became targets of the powerful.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia once called for Henry’s death in stating his support for the death penalty and called the execution of Henry by lethal injection “enviable.” In 2010 the N.C. Republican Party sent campaign mailers prior to the general election with Henry’s mug shot on it saying he would be free under the Racial Justice Act supported by Democrats. “Get to know Henry McCollum. He RAPED AND MURDERED AN 11 YEAR OLD CHILD….”

Both men have IQs in the 50s and 60s. After hours of intense police interrogation without lawyers present they signed confessions believing they could go home. New DNA evidence points to another man, Roscoe Artis, who is serving a life sentence for a similar murder committed just weeks after the murder of Sabrina Buie. Even after they were exonerated Leon and Henry were ordered to register as sex offenders, thus making it virtually impossible to get jobs.

What Henry and Leon have faced we can’t imagine. Outside of a court settlement in one case North Carolina has never outright provided any of its death row exonerees any compensation until now. Henry and Leon will receive up to $750,000.

PFADP calls on North Carolinians to repent over allowing a system such as the death penalty to remain in place while the evidence of its outright moral and practical failure mounts year after year.

What can we say to these two survivors of the system that we vote for and pay for? How do we say we are sorry?

We can offer our prayers for Leon and Henry. We can pray for Sabrina Buie’s family. We can pray for ourselves who allow the death penalty to continue.
And we can take action.

PFADP encourages you to talk with your pastor about what your congregation can do. Ask your congregation to pray together for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown and Sabrina Buie and their families. Get some friends and have a 15-minute conversation with your local district attorney about his or her position on the death penalty. Ask questions and listen. Go back in three months. Build a relationship. Same with your state senator and representative. Your sheriff. Your police chief. Your mayor.
Read more...
 
Press Release: NC's First Death Row Pardons PDF Print E-mail


NC Governor Pardons McCollum and Brown,

Needs to End Executions


RALEIGH, June 4, 2015 – Today, NC Gov. Pat McCrory pardoned Henry McCollum and Leon Brown. These are the first pardons of people exonerated from North Carolina's death row in the modern era.

Last September Henry and Leon were exonerated for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in 1984. At the time of his release Henry was the longest-serving prisoner on North Carolina’s death row. Leon spent five years on death row and then a quarter-century in prison for the same crime.

“Henry and Leon are the eighth and ninth exonerees from North Carolina’s lethally flawed death penalty system,” said People of Faith Against the Death Penalty Executive Director Stephen Dear.  “We thank Gov. McCrory for the pardons, but at the very least the next step is to place an immediate moratorium on executions in North Carolina. The only real solution to these atrocities is to repeal the death penalty.”  

Though innocent, Henry and Leon became targets of the powerful.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia once called for Henry’s death in stating his support for the death penalty and called the execution of Henry by lethal injection “enviable.” In 2010 the NC Republican Party sent campaign mailers prior to the general election with Henry’s mug shot on it saying he would be free under the Racial Justice Act supported by Democrats. “Get to know Henry McCollum. He RAPED AND MURDERED AN 11 YEAR OLD CHILD….”

Both men have IQs in the 50s and 60s. After hours of intense police interrogation without lawyers present they signed confessions believing they could go home. New DNA evidence points to another man, Roscoe Artis, who is serving a life sentence for a similar murder committed just weeks after the murder of Sabrina Buie. Even after they were exonerated Leon and Henry were ordered to register as sex offenders, thus making it virtually impossible to get jobs.

“What Henry and Leon have faced we can’t imagine,” Dear said.

Outside of a court settlement in one case North Carolina has never outright provided any of its death row exonerees any compensation until now. Henry and Leon will receive up to $750,000.

“PFADP calls on North Carolinians to repent over allowing a system such as the death penalty to remain in place while the evidence of its outright moral and practical failure mounts year after year,” Dear said.

“You’ve still got innocent people on North Carolina’s death row,” Henry McCollum said as he was released last year. “You’ve got some guys who should not have gotten the death penalty. That’s wrong. You got to do something."

###

Read more...
 
PFADP Statement on Nebraska Victory PDF Print E-mail

NEBRASKA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY!

May 27, 2015 -- The following is People of Faith Against the Death Penalty's statement following the Nebraska Senate voting to override NE Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of its passage of a bill to repeal the death penalty.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty celebrates Nebraska’s unicameral legislature this afternoon in overriding Gov. Ricketts' veto of the repeal bill by a vote of 30-19.

"This victory is the most significant leap forward for the abolition movement perhaps ever in the modern era," said PFADP Executive Director Stephen Dear. "A conservative state with a conservative legislature has decided the death penalty is harmful to its future and not in accord with its values."

"This changes the landscape."

"This vote represents a tectonic shift of our country with its epicenter in Lincoln, Nebraska," Dear said.

"It is no longer conservative to support the death penalty – it’s just outdated. The legislators in Nebraska voted their consciences. They voted their values. They value life and creation and justice for all and recognize that the death penalty is, in fact, contrary to these values."

Congratulations to Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Equal Justice USA, and all of the organizations and people who built the momentum for this enormous victory. Special thanks to all of the religious leaders who spoke up for repeal.

With today’s vote, 35 of the 53 death penalty jurisdictions in the United States (50 states, the District of Columbia, the federal government, and the military) either do not have the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least five years.

What’s next?

The death penalty won’t go away in the rest of the country by itself.

For people of faith, our work is now. Religious leaders and communities played an important role in the Nebraska victory, as they have in every abolition victory. The time is now for people of faith to use the resources of their faith communities to educate and mobilize them for abolition, to join and support their state campaigns for abolition, and to help PFADP build the momentum for a future unbound by the death penalty.

Since the 1950s America’s largest faith communities have been calling for abolition. That steadfastness is bearing fruit. Let us hold fast in the struggle and the faith and continue to expand the circle of abolitionists.
Read more...
 
Kelly Gissendaner PDF Print E-mail

Religious Leaders Rally for Kelly Gissendaner

ATLANTA, March 2, 2015 - This morning in Atlanta clergy delivered more than 50,000 petition signatures for mercy for Kelly Gissendaner, who is scheduled for execution this evening at 7 pm in Georgia.

About 500 Georgia faith leaders have signed a letter for mercy.

PFADP encourages everyone to sign the petitions and stay involved with PFADP and state and national abolition groups in ending the death penalty once and for all.

Sign the GA faith leaders letter here: http://tinyurl.com/GAClergyUniteToSpareALife

Sign the Groundswell petition here: http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/governor-deal-use-your-power-to-stop-the-execution-of-kelly-gissendaner

Related articles:

New York Times: "A Death Row Inmate Finds Common Ground With Theologians"

NBC News: "Kelly Gissendaner Presses Last-Ditch Appeals Before Georgia Execution"
 
Christian ethicist David Gushee has written an open letter to Georgia Christians, "Killing Kelly."

Catholic theologian Tobias Winright has written an open letter to Georgia's governor and parole board.
Read more...
 
Death Penalty Opposition Intensifies PDF Print E-mail

Death Penalty Opposition Intensifies

From the National Catholic Reporter: "Catholics, fellow Christians, Pope Francis and even pharmacists intensified opposition to the death penalty as Easter approached and the U.S. Supreme Court moved closer to reviewing the legality of lethal injections in late April.

In a March 31 statement directed at politicians and others in criminal justice sectors, nearly 400 Catholic and evangelical leaders said the occasion of Holy Week prompted them to 'speak out with renewed urgency against the death penalty.'"

Read the whole article here.
 
What Dean Smith Did on the Death Penalty: Everything We Asked of Him PDF Print E-mail

Thank You, Coach Smith, for Answering the Call

He always answered our calls.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty joins millions of people across the country in mourning the loss of our friend, former UNC Men's Basketball Coach Dean Smith, who passed away Saturday, Feburary 7, 2015.

In 1998 Coach Smith joined a PFADP delegation of clergy in a clemency hearing for John Noland, whom Coach Smith had befriended years earlier when he brought his players on the UNC Men's Basketball team to visit the men on death row. Subsequent to that clemency hearing a family who had lost a member to murder volunteered and created a 24-foot banner for PFADP quoting what Coach Smith told Gov. Jim Hunt. Before the meeting Coach Smith offered to lead off the discussion. He did not tell us what he planned to say.

"You're a murderer!" he told the governor, pointing his finger at him.

"And you're a murderer! And you're a murderer! And I'm a murderer!" he said, pointing at PFADP's executive director and the gathered pastors, ending with his finger pointed at himself.

"The death penalty makes us all murderers."

In the mid-1990s, at the height of death sentencing rates in North Carolina, Coach Smith was the first to sign Rev. Robert Seymour and PFADP's letter signed by prominent North Carolinians for abolition of the death penalty. He wrote personal notes to accompany letters we drafted for his signature to dozens of state senators and representatives encouraging their support for a moratorium on executions.

He recorded a message for PFADP in support of a moratorium on executions that played on telephones in 10,000 North Carolina homes. (He changed the scripted message to begin with, "This is Coach Dean Smith. I'm sorry to bother you....") He was the first to sign our letter for a moratorium on executions also signed by basketball coaches Bill Guthridge (UNC), Skip Prosser (Wake Forest) and Herb Sendek (NC State).

He supported PFADP. He donated autographed items for us to auction and raise money. He served on our Board of Advisors. In 2009, Coach Smith's daughter, Kristen, joined PFADP on staff.

Indeed, Dean Smith always answered our calls. Grounded in his Christian faith and the community of Binkley Baptist Church, he answered the call we all feel to work for abolition. He was always so humble and kind towards us.

He was a fellow activist for abolition.

Our organization will do our best to honor Dean Smith's witness.

When North Carolina and the rest of the United States abolish the death penalty it will be another victory in which this exemplary human being can share.
Read more...
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 47