May 2000 Issue 15

Articles in this Issue:

Moratorium Now!

Activists Converge On The Capitol

By: Marlene Martin

No one knows better than Darby Tillis, Ronald Jones and Gary Gauger why we need a national moratorium on executions.

Mumia Is Due To Appear In Federal Court

We Want Justice Now!

By: Lee Wengraf

Organizing to save Mumia

ON FEBRUARY 19, 750 activists came from around the world to attend a National Emergency Conference for Mumia Abu-Jamal in New York City to strategize about the critical fight for a new trial.

Don't Let Them Execute Shaka Sankofa!

By: Quent Reese

If Texas Gov. George W. Bush gets his way, he'll help the state murder an innocent man on June 22. That's the day that Shaka Sankofa -- formerly known as Gary Graham -- is scheduled to die.

Ronald Jones Speaks Out About The Death Penalty System

"Don't wait until it happens to you"

By: Alice Kim

Ronald Jones is one of the 13 innocent men released from Illinois' death row over the past 13 years.

[CEDP] How many years did you spend on death row?

[Ronald Jones] I got convicted in 1989. I stayed on death row until 1997. So that's eight years. That's not including the four years I spent at the county jail waiting for trial and the two years I spent at the county jail waiting for my case to get dismissed.

On what basis were you convicted?

Support For The Death Penalty Declines

By: Eric Ruder

Public opinion against the death penalty has grown sharply in the last few months -- a development that abolitionists have been fighting to bring about for a long time.

Support for the death penalty nationally has fallen to its lowest point since 1981, according to a recent Gallup poll. Just six years ago, support for the death penalty hit a very high 80 percent, but since then, it has declined 14 percentage points to 66 percent.

Supreme Court Upholds Law That Speeds Up Death Row Appeals

By: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

In late April, the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

President Bill Clinton signed this act into law essentially to speed up the appeals process for death row cases by making it more difficult for federal courts to intervene, review and challenge decisions made by state courts.

Our Struggle Picks Up Steam

Reports From Campaign Chapters Around The Country

Read below the reports filed from our chapters in the following cities:

  • New York City, NY
  • Bay Area, CA
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Austin, TX
  • Chicago, IL
  • Atlanta, GA

Get involved in the struggle now!

New York City
by Lucy Herschel

There has been a flurry of activity taking place in New York City.

Meet The Death Row Ten: Ronald Kitchen

"I can see some light shining through now"

By: Joan Parkin

The Death Row Ten are prisoners on Illinois' death row who were beaten and tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives. In 1993, Burge was forced to take early retirement and now spends his time fishing on his boat in Florida. But Burge and his cronies were never criminally charged.

In the summer of 1998, the Death Row Ten decided to form themselves into a group and asked the Campaign to End the Death Penalty to help them organize.

Exposing Everything That's Wrong About The Death Penalty

Don't let them execute Eugene Colvin-El!

By: Virginia Harabin

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Eugene Colvin-El's final federal appeal in April, clearing the way for the state of Maryland to set an execution date of June 12.

Eugene's only hope for avoiding the death chamber now lies with Maryland Gov. Paris Glendening. But abolitionists have been using the moratorium victory in Illinois to build strong opposition to another state-sponsored murder in Maryland.

Justice Delayed For Nathson Fields

By: Nate Goldbaum

We printed the wrong address for Nathson in the last issue of the New Abolitionist. The correct address is:

Nathson Fields
Division 1
P.O. Box 089002
Chicago, IL 60608.

Nathson Fields, his family and supporters learned once again in February that justice delayed is justice denied.

Justice For The West Memphis Three!

By: Andrew Freund

In 1996, the Emmy Award-winning documentary Paradise Lost exposed the many injustices in the 1993 "Satanic ritual" murder trial that convicted the West Memphis Three -- Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin. The documentary revealed the gross misconduct of police, prosecutors and judges in the case of three teenage boys who were wrongfully accused of a grisly triple murder of three 8-year-old boys.

Don't Let Them Ignore The Issue Of The Death Penalty

Confronting The Candidates

By: Marlene Martin

Both presidential candidates, Al Gore and George W. Bush, are sticking to the tried-and-true method for politicians -- to pose as tough on crime. They know that this stand has won votes in the past.

"It's Important That We Remain Strong"

My name is Keith Lamar, and I'm writing to share a little piece I wrote in response to several suicides that occurred here last year at the new Supermax in Youngstown, Ohio.

Being a condemned prisoner myself, I am well aware of the extreme pressure that one encounters as one awaits the balance of an unknown and precarious fate. And I simply want to encourage those who remain trapped inside the mouth of this machine to not give up hope. As the pendulum of madness swings back towards more sane territory, it's important that we remain strong in heart and spirits.

"Please Help Me To Help Myself"

My name is Donnetta Hill. I'm a 33-year-old woman and mother of two daughters, ages 9 and 12 years old.

In April 1992, I was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death with a court-appointed public defender who did nothing to defend me -- he had no experience with how to handle a death penalty case. I have had three to four court-appointed public defenders working on my appeals, and none of them knew anything for years.

"I Don't Know If My Time Is Short"

Hello. I understand you find friends for those on death row to correspond with. That is very kind and decent of you. Would you please find someone for me?

I am deep in my federal appeals as I write this, so I do not know if my time remaining is short or if the court will grant me a new trial.

"Our Voices Must Be Heard"

Greetings from the Inside!

I'm writing to share the enclosed pamphlets. I'm no great writer but have been struggling to put together a committee. I am not one who has the right to claim actual innocence. But I do claim innocence with responsibility!

At any rate, I have just read the New Abolitionist and thought maybe some of my words may be useful. I'm sure the argument has been heard many times, but in the event it has not -- closed lips don't get heard!

Looking For A Pen Pal On Death Row?

Thinking about writing to someone on Death Row? Our list of inmates requesting pen pals far exceeds people to write to them.

Think about becoming a pen pal. For more information or to request a pen pal, write to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, attention to the national pen pal coordinator.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing because I am interested in receiving a pen pal.

I am 29 years old, and I've been on death row for 10 years.