Three wishes that Governor Rick Perry could grant this week

I refer you all to today’s blogpost from Texas Moratorium Network: “Three Executions in Three Days in Texas, starting today”

Well – I went and did as TMN requested and contacted Governor Rick Perry to beg for clemency in the case of all three men. The web form for email submission was not exactly designed for non-US residents; I guess the Governor’s Office cares little for the opinion of those who will never have the right to vote for him, but ho-hum. I made up an address and phone number (well, actually, I used the address for the Hilton in Austin), but used my genuine email address. Here’s a photo of him. He looks like a nice guy, doesn’t he? The kind who would listen, who might feel some compassion and have the gumption to do something because it is right? Maybe? Ha. Feels a bit like throwing a snowball into the ocean, for all the impact it is likely to have but I’m glad I did it anyway. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Governor Perry,
Although I have been able to complete this webform in full honesty as it does not allow for addresses outside of the USA to be entered, I nonethless wanted to take this opportunity to contact your office via the swiftest means possible. I am a resident of the United Kingdom, but with a strong personal interest in a matter which affects us all as citizens of the world. I have given my real name and email address.

I am aware of the impending executions of Texas inmates Gerald Eldridge, Danielle Simpson and Robert Thompson in the coming 3 days and I want to ask you, as a fellow human being, to consider clemency in the case of all three men. I am not a voter of course, but an observer and commentator on what is happening around the world in matters of the Death Penalty. The facts tell us that Gerald does not have the IQ to have fully understood the severity or outcome of his crime, that Danielle has volunteered to be executed because the burden and conditions of waiting on death row make it unbearable for him to live any more – but rather than take his own life he will ‘allow’ you to go ahead and murder him (which effectively makes him a martyr); and that Robert himself never committed the murder for which he has been condemned. But aside from the individual tragedies that mean none of these men should have their lives taken from them in this way, there is a more general reason for asking you to consider making the clearsighted, compassionate and informed choice this week to spare these men. In the eyes of most of the world, the death penalty is seen as barbaric and in contravention of human rights, whatever a perpetrator’s alleged crime. The USA is increasingly exposed as one of the last bastions persisting in taking the life of a human being in the name of justice. As you know in your own state, the financial burdens are calling the matter into question; and at federal level, the nation is under pressure to desist in the hypocrisy of decrying human rights aberrations elsewhere in the world while ignoring and perpetuating the mess and questionable justice that is the capital punishment system within its own borders.

Mr Perry, you have a chance to do something different this week. Be bold, send a message to the world that Texas is progressive and ready to reinvest in humane justice. Please, please, give these three men the reprieve that they least expect at the moment their faith in humanity reaches its lowest and most feeble spark. Show them what goodness is. Please spare them.

With kindest regards


There is a detailed document outlining the history, roles and procedures open to State Governors in considering clemency upon the final gubernatorial appeal (love that word… gubernatorial…) to be found here (pdf document, 15 pages). I admit I haven’t had a chance to read it all through yet, it kind of needs a printing off to really absorb. But it confirms it is within Perry’s remit to grant last-minute reprieves and commutations (but not pardons) without explicit recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“Governor, upon the recommendation
of the Texas Board of
Pardons and Paroles (appointed
by Gov.), has the authority to
remit fines and forfeitures, grant
reprieves, commutations and
pardons” (table, page 14 of 15)

The next three days are going to be gut-wrenching, my friends.

November 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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