Challenging the Texas Law of Parties

Challenging the Texas Law of Parties to reserve it for the most heinous crimes as currently between 80 to 100 Death Row inmates in Texas did not kill a single person, some did not even intend that a life be taken.

Dear Friends at TDS,

Today we come to you with an urgent petition. We hope that

you hear our cries for this urgent and just matter. Many of you that read this letter are probably already familiar with this issue and we hope that we will be able to motivate you to act. This issue is regarding the Texas Law of Parties Statute, specifically the application of 7.02(b), and how Texas prosecutors, and Courts, are abusing it. We feel that it is time that this law be attacked and challenged on a grand basis.

We are asking that TDS come together and do a study about Law of Parties convictions. We know that TDS has done great work in the past with such booklets as Lethal Indifference and Deadly Speculation and we feel that the Law of Parties warrants just as much focus, if not more so. We have been winning some great victories against the death penalty with DNA issues, mentally retarded standards and the juvenile ruling, but who can deny that many issues still remain? We feel that the Law of Parties should be put at the forefront. Why? Because this system claims that the death penalty is reserved for the worse or the worse criminals, that it is reserved for the most heinous crimes, yet there are men on death row who did not kill a single person and in some of these Law of Parties cases did not even intend that a life be taken. We are outraged that no group of politicians has stood up to point this out. Regardless of what Texas, or the higher courts, has said is allowed in Texas, that does not mean the Law is right. America has had many laws
throughout its founding that were not just, but until they were
resisted on a large scale they were not repelled. We are asking that a
voice be raised about this issue.

Will the Law of Parties abolish the death penalty? Of course not in itself. However, it is one more issue that must be won so that one more brick out of the wall of capital punishment will be taken out. It will eventually have to be addressed. So far we have only seen it addressed in one decent way and that was done by Austin Chronicle journalist Jordan Smith in her February 11, 2005 article Wrong Time, Wrong Place and side article Circular Logic, Circular Justice. Still, this article received very little rave, but it should have as it testifies to the unconstitutional, and just flat-out nefarious, nature of this law. Those of us sending this petition is a collective of anti-death penalty advocates, activists and supporters of Kenneth Foster Jr. (the subject of the above article). Therefore, we do not ask this from the outside, but the inside of this gruelling struggle.

Allow us to say that we know there is a lot of politics in doing projects like this, even for groups such as yours. We know that projects like this must get approval and also funds must be available to put in the work. Well, we cannot do so many things, but we are willing to help fund raise for this urgent matter. Basically, we are determined to stay fighting until this issue gets the attention it is due. And if this means consistently petition groups as yourself we will do that. We know that TDS is the perfect vehicle for this and we ask you to take this project up. We do not have to explain to you, of all people, the atrocities going on on death row, but can it be downplayed that men on death row who have not killed are the epitome of where the death penalty goes wrong? Please, lets expose this and also find a way to challenge this in the legislature. We realize that you may not have the resources to respond to all of these petitions so we have designated the Visions for LIFE organization and its website to receive your response. VFL will take upon the responsibility to send out your responses. Also, VFL members will make themselves available to help TDS on this project in any way possible.

Please let us hear something positive from you on this matter. Many people, even beyond these few petitions, are concerned about this issue and we are resolute on our feelings about it. We hope you will share them as well. Thank you for your time.

Your response may be forwarded to : 4justice@visionsforlife.netSincerely,
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