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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects clemency for Chris Young

Christopher Young
Today, July 13, 2018, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, by a vote of xxx, rejected Christopher Anthony Young’s application for clemency. 

Young faces execution by the State of Texas on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

Earlier this year, the Board unanimously recommended clemency for Thomas Whitaker, a white man convicted of masterminding the murders of his mother and brother.  His father, Kent, was also shot in the ambush but survived and forgave his son, pleading for his life.

Chris Young is African-American.  The son of the man he killed opposes his execution.

Governor Abbott has the authority to grant a one-time, 30-day reprieve.

Statement from David Dow and Jeff Newberry, attorneys for Chris Young:

“We are devastated that the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles failed to recognize what we know to be true: The man the State of Texas seeks to execute – our client, Christopher Anthony Young – is not the same reckless young man who took the life of Hasmukh Patel in San Antonio on November 21, 2004.

Killing Chris on July 17, 2018 will not benefit anyone: not his two daughters and other family members who love him; not Mitesh Patel, the son of Hasmukh, who does not want Chris to be executed; and not the adolescents desperately in need of his mentorship.

The members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles have ignored their moral imperative to consider all facets of this case – not just the crime but the way Chris Young has lived the last 12 years of his life on death row.

Since his conviction, Chris has educated himself, become grounded in his religion, actively parented his daughters, and mentored troubled young people beyond the prison walls. He is deeply remorseful for killing Mr. Patel, and he would like the opportunity to express his sorrow in person to Mitesh Patel.  The Board’s rejection of clemency instead offers retribution, not restorative justice.

We call on Governor Abbott to use his authority to grant a one-time 30-day stay of execution so that Chris and Mitesh Patel have an opportunity to meet.  Doing so will demonstrate the same spirit of mercy that Mr. Patel has so courageously shown.”

David Dow and Jeff Newberry, July 13, 2018

Attorneys David R. Dow and Jeff Newberry are available to answer questions about Mr. Young’s case. Contact Mr. Newberry at 713-743-6843 or jrnewber@central.uh.edu.

Source: tcadp, Kristin, July 13, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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