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June 22, 2000

2000.06.22: Rallies for Shaka Sanfoka Today!

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 12:11 pm
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From: LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ [mailto:LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 10:13 AM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Rallies for Shaka Sanfoka Today!

Don’t Let Bush Kill an Another Innocent Man!

Today, at 7:00 p.m. EST, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Shaka Sankofa (formerly known as Gary Graham).  Around the country, major newspapers and magazines have highlighted the overwhelming evidence of Shaka’s innocence and many have called for a halt to the execution.

In addition to calling a faxing Bush today, everyone who can should come out to rally for Shaka  at noon and again at 5 at the Republican Offices at the Roosevelt Hotel (Madison and 45th Sts.)   We had great rallies there Monday and Wednesday.  There are demonstrations going on around the country, including an overnight vigil that happened in Houston last night.

Members of the Board of Pardons and Parole (the group that will make a recommendation to Bush about what action he should take in the case) are in the spotlight now.  We need to keep pressure on them as well, so I encourage people also to call and fax them (512) 463-1679 fax:-8120  They will be voting at noon Texas time (1 p.m. EST)

Bush knows that if he doesn’t go ahead with this execution, he’s opening the floodgates to questions about all the other people who’ve been executed and all the other people currently on death row.  Which means that anti-death penalty forces need to make sure that if he does go through with the execution, we will never let him live it down.  Stopping this execution would bring us a huge step closer to stopping executions in this country.

Hope to see you all out there this afternoon!

Below is the letter that Jesse Jackson and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty presented at the Republican HQ in Chicago on Monday:

To Governor George W. Bush and
> the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:
>
>     This letter is to urge you to grant clemency in the case of death
> row prisoner Gary Graham (also known as Shaka Sankofa), who is
> scheduled to be executed on June 22.
>     We have grave doubts about Shaka’s convictionïand about the
> process that landed him on death row.  Shaka’s conviction for capital
> murder was based on the testimony of a single eyewitness.  Six other
> witnesses to the crime say that Shaka was not the killer.  Four people
> say that Shaka was with them at the time of the murder.  No physical
> evidence tied Shaka to the crime.  And police reports contained
> ballistics data which showed that Shaka’s gun couldn’t have been used
> to commit the killing.
>     Tragically, the jury in Shaka’s original trial heard little of
> thisïbecause Shaka’s lawyer was incompetent.  He barely prepared for
> this case of life and death, and associates say he believed his client
> was guilty.  Yet because of restrictions on death row appeals, the
> convincing evidence of Shaka’s innocence that his first jury didn’t
> hear has never been heard in court.
>     We also have grave moral concerns about this execution.  Shaka was
> 17 years old at the time he was convicted and has now spent more than
> half of his life on death row.  No advanced country in the world
> allows the execution of juvenile offenders.
>     Governor Bush and members of the pardons board, you have to act to
> stop a terrible injustice from happening.  We have come here todayïin
> the same spirit as others around the country who today gatherïto
> deliver this
> message: Don’t kill Shaka Sankofa in our name or in the name of
> justice.

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