If you can not attend, please spread the word about this event. It is open to all, students and non-students and every age.
The "Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break" will be held on the University of Texas at Austin campus March 14-18, 2011. Guest speakers include six innocent, exonerated people who spent more than 50 years on death row for crimes they did not commit: Anthony Graves, Clarence Brandley, Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine, Gary Drinkard and Albert Burrell. Anthony Graves is the most recent innocent person released from Texas Death Row. He spent 18 years incarcerated in Texas, including 14 years on death row, for a crime he did not commit before he was released on October 27, 2010.
Now is a critical time for students to get involved in the effort to end the death penalty. After an 11-year moratorium, the Governor of Illinois is expected to sign a bill to abolish the death penalty in his state. Students who attend the alternative spring break will train to join both the national effort against the death penalty and to help stop executions in Texas — the leading execution state in the country.
All events are free and open to the public, both students and non-students. The first two days will be held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin in a room to be announced. The second two days will be held at the Texas Capitol. The full schedule and a registration form is on the website:
2011 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break Schedule (Tentative: times, speakers and sessions may change)
Monday, March 14
LBJ School of Public Affairs on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. Room 3.122 in Sid Richardson Hall, which is the building that houses the LBJ School (UT map) (Google Map)
Afternoon: Housing check-in for people who have signed up for housing.
4:30-5 PM: Introduction to the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break with Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network and Hooman Hedayati of Witness to Innocence.
5:00-6:00 PM "Overview of the Death Penalty Issue" Major issues and recent Texas and national developments with Danielle Dirks, who in May 2011 will finish her PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently teaches the course "Capital Punishment in America" at UT. Her dissertation is titled "American Capital Punishment and the Promise of 'Closure'".
6:00- 6:30 PM Snacks and socializing
6:30 - 7 PM -Live Telephone Call from inside an Illinois prison, organized by Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin Chapter. We will receive a live phone call from Stanley Howard, who was wrongfully sentenced to death for murder. On January 10, 2003, Governor George H. Ryan granted a pardon to Howard based on innocence in the murder case. However, Howard still stands convicted in an armed robbery case, for which he faces imprisonment until 2023. In addition to four pardons, Ryan commuted to life the sentences of everyone on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' death row – a total of 167 people – due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly.
7:00 - 8:15 PM Panel discussion with Sam Millsap and Judge Charlie Baird. Mr Millsap is a former Bexar County District Attorney in San Antonio. Mr Millsap prosecuted Ruben Cantu who was executed by the State of Texas in 1993 for murder, but Mr Millsap now believes that Cantu may have been innocent. Judge Charlie Baird retired from the 299th District Court of Travis County on December 31, 2010. Previously, Judge Baird served on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' highest criminal appellate court, from 1990 through 1998. Judge Baird handled many appeals as a judge on the CCA. In 2010, Judge Baird heard testimony by attorneys for the family of Todd Willingham who were seeking a ruling on whether Willingham was wrongfully convicted. The hearing was stopped by a higher court decision and Judge Baird was not allowed to issue a decision.