Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rally for Kenneth Foster on August 21

I wanted to highlight a comment that someone left on a previous post on the plight of death row inmate Kenneth Foster.
If you are moved by the case of Kenneth Foster, and if you can get to Austin, we encourage all justice-minded people to come to a rally in support of Kenneth. The rally is on Tuesday, August 21, starting at 5pm. We will gather in front of the Capitol at 11th St. and Congress Ave. and march to the Governor's mansion to make our voices heard. For more information, visit [Save Kenneth Foster] or call 512.584.1578.
In the meantime, Sean-Paul Kelley, whose plea for mercy so moved us in the first place, notes that the human tragedy of this story has been lost in the scramble of media to win the ratings war.

And while we sympathize with Kelley's anguish, we're hopeful that the wider exposure will accomplish what the appeals process so far has failed to do - commute Foster's sentence. The odds at this point don't look good.

[Foster's attorney, Keith Hampton] said he has exhausted virtually all legal recourse, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that his last best hope relies on a recommendation of commutation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to [Gov. Rick] Perry.

Is he hopeful? Given Texas' track record with executions, "No, I am not," Hampton said. "The odds are extremely low."

In fact, the Board of Paroles has only recommended that a sentence be commuted twice in its history. In 1998, a recommendation was approved by then-Gov. George W. Bush in the high-profile case of Henry Lee Lucas. And, in 2004, they recommended the execution of paranoid schizophrenic Kelsey Patterson be commuted to life in prison, but Perry refused to grant the commutation.

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Perry, said the governor considers each execution on a case-by-case basis. She said Texans overwhelmingly support the death penalty, and that Perry, in his suppot [sic] for it, is "carrying out the will of the people."

Jackie Deynolles, the acting chair of the 7-person pardons and parole committee that will review Foster's case, would not comment, other than to say that the board has received Hampton's petition and will issue a decision on Aug. 28.

Perry never made a move in his life that wasn't political. The fact that in Foster's case the punishment clearly does not fit the crime probably isn't keeping the governor up at night. The only way to convince him and the board to commute Foster's sentence is to convince them that an execution in this case is clearly not the "will of the people." (See rally, above.)

Foster is scheduled to be executed on Aug. 30th.

No comments: