Message from Kenneth’s lawyer

By: Keith Hampton

I wanted to thank you all (wherever you are) for your good work on this successful campaign, so that a wonderful human being lives, against all odds.

I only have one other client on death row, and so I will now soon turn my attention as a lawyer to that client and my other cases. But before I did, I thought I’d relate some thoughts to you in the hope that the remarkable confluence we’ve experienced in this campaign can be reproduced in future cases, with just as much success.

I did not previously know Bryan McCann (or Dana Cloud, Lily Hughes, Randi Jones, Katie Feyh or Claire Dube). When the last cert petition was denied last spring, we were all thrown together (and eventually with you) with a singular eye toward the same goal: save Kenneth. I primarily worked with Bryan, and we and a small group worked up a strategy that linked the legal strategy with your efforts.

This obviously worked, and there are other people languishing on death row who you will want to save in the future. I want to see you all (and new recruits) do this again.

This movement was your template, and you should draw some basic lessons from it: trust your people on the ground in Texas (i.e., Bryan and his team); work as a team; be supportive and positive; put your ego in your pocket; be accurate in your information; and above all, be organized. If Bryan and his immediate team will lead the way on organization (which he can’t do without support from you), then I believe you will have taken the death penalty movement in a whole different direction in the most unlikely place in the world--Texas.

Finally, if you’re German, Australian, English, French or Italian, you had an impact that is larger than just Kenneth’s case.

I can personally tell you that decision-makers were visibly shaken when I told them, “Here are thousands of signatures from Germany”; when I casually mentioned “the Italians are lighting up the Coliseum”’ when I pointed out the French deputy minister’s letter alongside Desmond Tutu’s and Jimmy Carter’s; and when I hand-delivered beautifully-handwritten letters from all over the UK.

I wish you great fortune in the future, and I will stay in touch. I don’t want to sound maudlin, but your work has more than been inspiring to me.